For The Orangery - Valerie Mendes
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For The Orangery

For The Orangery

Blenheim: 12 April 2022

There is something about Blenheim’s Orangery
Not only its light and its size
The way it seems endless and boundless
And how it looks up to those skies
That lift and extend to the heavens
Whose gardens feel green to the touch
There is something far more to The Orangery
That makes me adore it so much.

When I march up the steps to The Orangery
I feel I’m a part of the place
I can taste its historical background
Know it’s special in time and in space –
The people who wandered before me
In satin and silk and those pearls
They were probably Kings or Princesses
Or Barons or Graces or Earls

So the spirits who haunt every corner
Lend majesty, polish and power
They give every table a number
They add to the menu each hour.
That tea that I bought for my family:
We found my grand-daughter her name
Although she had yet to be human
It was Phoebe that then she became.

So rituals hide in the sandwich
And promises come with the sweet
We chatter and laugh and slide napkins
We chew and we swallow – and eat
Far more than the fillet or pudding
Along with the friends whom we greet
There is more to the eye in The Orangery:
It’s Blenheim’s alone. Take a seat

To celebrate birthdays, reunions
A special occasion, a gift
To remember another year’s passing
To bow over handshakes, to lift
Tired spirits with Blenheim’s clear water
With tea or with wine or with both
And whether it’s morning or evening
I shall promise to plight thee my troth.

With very special Easter love to Phoebe Mendes