She heard the whispers, in the other room.
She was not asleep.
Granny and Beautiful Mother were laughing
About….something. She rushed as fast as her
Two year old chubby legs could carry her.
What? Who….were they talking about?? Not
Cousin Franklin, charming Franklin! No. Nor Beautiful
Alice?….Who was this ugly little girl? Who were
They speaking about in hushed tones?
“No further in that face”
The tinkling of Beautiful Anna’s laughter rose
Higher, as Granny told her “hush”
Anna put her hand on her forehead. Nothing could
Father was not home
Baby was not safe. Where was father?: at
The tavern? Riding a pony-er-horse.
“Elliot, won’t help”, said Beautiful Mother,
The Pear’s Soap Woman.
Baby just wanted to cry. But Beautiful
Pear’s Soap Woman would DISAPPROVE!
So, Baby just put her little bottom
On the floor. And fell asleep….
She sat near the body.
A life over.
Born to privilege,
Living in genteel povery-a stranger,
A thorn among the Brainless Hall
Beauties, whose pinnacle
Was Anna, her mother.
Ah, Beautiful Anna:
A Pear’s Soap Beauty, toasted
By the gentry, winning the
Heart of a frivolous rogue
Younger brother to THE ROUGH RIDER,
Bon vivant, hopeless father, yet
Ever charming to Baby
Ignored, oft tortured by words
Cutting like a saber; always
Looking-looking for kindness;
Love; being pelted by Alice
Blue gown’s snide remarks.
Baby knew her place:
Then came Bammie. Aunt Bye. Seeing not
A “Granny”; offering hope
Not offense-and a path to love.
Father died drunk
(Baby, now Nell, was never told)
Mother died young
Along comes Aunt Bye’s Europe
The face no longer the focus
Liberating her compassion and kindness, honored with
Bouquets left on her dorm door
The Hyde Park Squire wedded her
(for her mind). Do Tell!
No longer an orphan, but now
Cousin Sara, phantasmagorically
Suffocates her growth.
Children. Children and more Children
Some died. Then THE LETTER
Love died. Silence.
The Squire sickened. The townhouse bird
Bab’s “Letter to the world” ignited a
Chrysanthemum, illuminating hope to those
Left in depression dullness, treading
Ball gowns for proletariat clothes.
She was flawed, but empathetic,
She did the Nations work, tirelessly.
Even, at her daughter’s final betrayal
At the squires last days.
Her journey ended.
The dance remains the same; Prince
And the fragile
Swan, swims in sluggy swamps
Called the World.
Until that journey ends, and some voice
Says: “I will declare thy righteousness
And thy works….”