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U3A Writing: Clearing Sale

When Merle Parkin went to a clearance sale she was confronted by an array of a family's happy memories.

I noticed an advert of late: “Sale – sundry goods – deceased estate”’
and chancing to be idle, I went forth to see what I could buy.
The cottage spoke of days of yore: wisteria around the door,
and roses on an archway spanned the side path to a wonderland.
Red moons of pomegranates shone above the benches whereupon
lay bric-a-brac from out the past, house gadgets that were built to last.
On hand-made, linen supper cloths – camphor redolent, no moths! –
sweet floral cup-and saucer sets, real silver rings for serviettes,
a cake stand, and cake knives as well, they’d seen some service I could tell,
for fine patina cloaked the metal, likewise a polished copper kettle.
Beneath a gnarled old apple tree lay goods that started tears in me,
a hobby horse with real horsehair, a doll, a one eyed teddy bear,
and little things once purchased for, perhaps, a child who’d gone before,
by parents who could not presage the small hands of our present age.
I moved along, and there, sunlit, a well used saw, a brace and bit,
a hammer, tinsnips, everything maintaining a home will bring.
Past books and clothes and cooking pots, I delved in all the likely spots,
by watercolour prints to roam: framed samplers said ”Our happy home”.
More toys, a doll with curly hair, a tricycle, a potty chair,
a ladder, garden tools all worn, and there beneath the peppercorn,
a garden seat . I paused to rest, and sentiments I’d never guessed
caused me to heave a profound sigh for the one thing I couldn’t buy,
though there it lay beneath the trees: a family’s happy memories.


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