Poetry: Doll's House | clivejames.com
[Invisible line of text as temporary way to expand content column justified text width to hit margins on most viewports, simply for improved display stability in the interval between column creation and loading]

Doll's House

        Against the haunting of our cats
Shy raids by children visiting, it stays
        As truthful as the willow flats
               Which blocked her days.

        Its owner slammed the door and fled
Like Nora to the liberal hinterland.
        What could resite that jostled bed?
               No grown-up hand.    

        The miniature hoover lies
Brim-full of dust, the chest of drawers gapes;
        On holidays a sobbing tries
               To fluff the drapes.

        And now to play at house you need
Another sort of house inside your head
        Where duty states you soothe and feed
              The plastic dead.

        Her children have outgrown it too,
But do they hear the twisting of the key,
       Entail their ruined space in lieu
               Of charity?

        Love, orderer of dolls and towns,
Has Lilliputianized the scale of pain,
        So the wide adult eye looks down
               Bereaved again

        Of esperance, the childhood flush,
And has no passage into afternoons
        But through diminished doors and hush
               Of darkened rooms.

(From Fast Forward, 1984)