SPRING TO WINTER

scissor grinder

When I was a girl, the winters were ferocious and none more so than the 1946/47 winter.  The street I lived in was a small street with no more than about a half dozen houses down each side.  Every house, or so it seemed to me, had a polished table in their front room and over that table was a chenille cloth.  Our cloth was red with bobbles hanging all round it.  I only have to close my eyes to remember the thick rich feel of that cloth and I don’t have to do anything to remember my sister.

                       SPRING TO WINTER

              The world goes round in tight circles
              As I have always known it would.
              Its intention always to go
              From Spring to Winter
              In one breath.

              When I was first tall enough
              To see over the table top,
              The bobbled red chenille cloth
              Cherried in my fingers,
               I learnt then of dying,
              For in my house that winter
              Our Spring baby died.

             That snow pulsed afternoon,
             The old scissor-grinder, out-lighted,
             Stood under the gas lamp
             Stoning blades of knife and scythe and scissor,
             Sparks spinning from his wheel
             As if that winter day was Carnival.

             I ran from him,
            Snowflakes melting my eyes
            As I wept for my sister,
            Suddenly afraid of the scythe
            And afraid of the scissor.

                              © Gwen Grant

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