TEA WITH AUNT MILDRED

Struck by your change of accent
On your sister’s doorstep.
Reverting to the posh voice
You assumed on these visits,
We children grinned at each other
Aware that snobbery existed
Even for us, who were poor,

By comparison, the large house
With roses in the front garden
Had a polished entrance hall
With coloured tiles
And seemed like a mysterious palace.

Tea was plentiful.
We said, “No thank you,”
More often than, “Yes please”,
Not to appear greedy.
Amused that both sister’s voices
Echoed to their Liverpool origins
As conversation progressed.

When the time came to leave
You made one last stab at it.
“Terribly kind of you. Take care.”
And she, upstaging to the last,
“Lovely to see you. Do come again.”
Then your comment, as we walked up the road,
“Money seems to have gone to her head!”

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