the madrigal, volume iii.v
by lois hambleton
I told my youngest daughter
I’ve put fairy lights across the chimney beam.
The days are getting dark I thought, my hands
a stain of worry picking scars.
I stirred a potion in the yard of seeds
and leaves I knew to be of use. I paused
at where the tabby fluff still holds
a circled bowl of flattened leaves. The place
the old cat curled and purred, enough …
I sat with next doors bastard cat instead
and though he murders, spits at every turn
he understands and palliates irrational stuff
with singularity. A disposition so unique
he makes it easier to soothe my lot.
Be still, he says, transcend and warm the icy grass.
Its bloodied grass, just so you know …
The holly overhead protects, my daughter says, her voice
a tinkling from some fairy place - left in the house
no goblin from the hedge can enter in. And mom,
you’ve always liked that angel with the pinkish wings.
You can hang her from the chimney beam.
Even song birds mock the inner ear - that bastard cat
a shaking and a shimmering of his head …
- Just leave the lights across the beam, my daughter says.
I pulsed the old cat, stirring where he slept
and thought on her, my youngest girl and how
she loved his silver fur.
I hear her voice - Just tie the berried holly
to the stairs, the wall, the door …
Lois Hambleton was born in Birmingham UK - City of a Thousand Trades and the birthplace of the Balti. A former lecturer at South & City College Birmingham she has work included in - A Wild and Precious Life, a recovery from addiction anthology, The Covid Diaries (Poetry Bus Magazine), Dear Dylan, Letters to and poems after, Dylan Thomas (Indigo Dreams Publishing), Cry of the Poor (Culture Matters Co-Operative Ltd), Despite Knowing, Poems on addiction (Fore Street Press) & Last Stanza Poetry Journal (Indiana).