The Dressing Table

This is probably my favourite poem of my collection so far. Based on a line from T.S Eliot’s The Wasteland.

In vials of ivory and coloured glass
the scents of lilac and primrose rests.
The vials stand in order of height
with proud and puffed out chests.

They linger and sicken the fragrant air.
Afore them, pots of rouge.
In pastel pinks: the sugared gloss,
and balms in cherry hues.

An incense stick, long turned to ash
effuses jasmine swirls,
And in the dancing smoke there is
the image of boy and girl.

In pride of place a single rose
lies on the table, petals wilting.
The thorns still sharp and deadly though –
the leaves dark brown and crisping.

The battered photo of a teenage man
nestles in the mirror frame.
The chiselled jaw under beret that
Hides the curls he could never tame.

And on the back of the velvet chair
hangs a kimono of finest cotton.
With floral patterns – in cherry, of course –
and the blossom that’s never forgotten.


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