Table Things

The cruet set is

Cut glass, tall, silver trimmed

And French. A gift.

I have no idea of its past.

It exists still,

Long treasured once, but by whom?

It is the ordinary things,

In casual daily use by all,

Which carry the pathos of recall.

One butter knife, bone handled,

Grooved and brown,

Speaks to me of 'a nice bit of ham for our tea,'

Of white bread, buttered thinly,

But out to each corner,

Either for elegance or frugality.

Make the most, we had rationing.

Another, round flat blade,

A plain wooden end to hold,

Is all hasty toast and breakfast rush,

Days out sandwiches

And late night suppers after pubs.

It's still complete

With its sixties stainless steel butter dish.

The last has a pale yellow handle, plastic,

And a criss cross on the knife.

Now, was that ours, or grandma's too?

My mother can't remember, and already,

I'm no longer sure,

But it has a Sunday look, untarnished,

From some cutlery set

That was probably kept for best, 

Or maybe, Christmas guests.

Share this page