And Always the View of the Gardens - Valerie Mendes
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And Always the View of the Gardens

And Always the View of the Gardens

The Indian Room, Blenheim Palace

There are tables and chairs and some breakfast
An easel, his brushes and oils
A newspaper, thumbed and abandoned
A bottle of Scotch. All the spoils
Of life in its ordinary moments
A weekend of peace, far from war –
This more of a glimpse into Winston
In ways we’ve not witnessed before:

They pull at my heartstrings, these details,
How he’d eat the first meal of the day
In his gown and his slippers, his napkin
Slips, when he’s not looking, away.
His mind, ever-buzzing with conflict
Those bickerings scream in his ears
He quells them to glance through the window –
That view of the gardens! Those years

When he’d waited for Mama and Papa
His curls hidden safely away
Under hats that sat clean, neat and dandy
For Nanny held, perfectly, sway
And always that view of the gardens
So spacious and graceful and sane
So haunted with shots of his childhood
They make him feel youthful again –

So he picks up his brushes with vigour
He daubs and he dabs and he sighs
He can recollect just how the Lake looks
Under perilous cloud-ridden skies …
And then, as his energies, waning,
Make him leave half the painting undone
He settles himself in his armchair
To sleep under Indian sun.