A Poem by Terry Collett



Speak to Mr Tennyson,
Charlotte, Mother would
Say; but you never did.
You just stared at him with

Your blue eyes wondering
How many fleas wandered in
His big beard. He would read
Off realms of his poems to any

Who would listen, but you let
Your thoughts wander off and
Away, finding his verse dull and
Boring. Now you walk about the

House long after Tennyson, Mother,
Father and the rest of those who
Lived in the house, back then, have
Died; leaving you to walk about,

Presumingly dead yourself, from
Room to room or sometimes you
Take to the grounds listening to
The birds and wind and all things

That are alive and have their being.
Others live in the house now. A man
And his wife and two children. He
Is at home most of the time in his

Study (in what used to be Father’s
Study) tapping on a machine which
Is something like a typewriter, but
Less noisy. He is tall and thin, has

Deep-set eyes, and seems absorbed
In what he taps away at. His wife,
A fat woman, with a number of chins,
Often comes to the room to peep over

His shoulder and kiss his ears. You
Sit in one of the chairs watching them,
Passing comments, which they do not
Seem to hear. She has a bottom like a

Huge hippopotamus if you remember
Rightly from a picture in a book from
Father’s library. Some days you follow
Her around the house, just behind her,

Watching her large bottom going from
Side to side, entering the kitchen, picking
At the food, talking to the cook who does
The meals. The boy spends most of his

Time outside collecting butterflies or beetles
Depending on the season and then proceeds
To pin them to a board and labels them with
Names from a book he has beside him. You

Whisper to him, but he doesn’t hear you and
Carries on regardless. The girl, however, does
Seem to hear you; she turns her head when
You speak and looks around the room as if

She were seeking out the source of the voice
She hears. She does not seem to see you,
Which is a shame, you would like for her to
See you and comment on your old clothes

And shoes and how your hair is and how blue
Your eyes are, but she just stares blankly about

Her like one blind. You are lonely and wish now
You had spoken to Mr Tennyson, if only to ask

Him how many fleas occupied his beard or how
Many poems he had written or did he always
Have that tobacco smell, such simple questions
To an old man from an innocent young girl.

© 2010 Terry Collett

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Added on July 22, 2010
Last Updated on July 31, 2010


Terry Collett
Terry Collett

United Kingdom

Terry Collett has been writing since 1971 and published on and off since 1972. He has written poems, plays, and short stories. He is married with eight children and eight grandchildren. on January 27t.. more..