Velvet Lady

Several years ago, I stayed in a Scottish tower-castle in Aberdeenshire. These buildings are large, fortified homes often featuring one or more circular turrets. The solid stone construction of a tower-castle exudes a sense of history and permanence.

I subsequently wrote a poem, titled Velvet Lady, which was inspired by my stay in Aberdeenshire. The poem was published in Volume 10, Issue 2 of the online journal, Meniscus. Thank you to poetry editor, Gail Pittaway, for selecting my poem.

Velvet Lady

An oversized hearth dominates the sitting room. Five
or six strides wide, taller than a man, and so deep

the rear wall seems lost in the darkness of a deserted cloister
on a medieval night. The angled granite sides each contain

a rectangular recess, packed tight with enough logs for a couple
of days, or maybe more. Behind the brass screen, a small fire

gives an occasional spit, the way pumpkin soup erupts
while waiting patiently on a simmer.

Gathered round are several opulent armchairs and one long
sofa upholstered in slightly faded crimson fabric.

A velvet lady stares, unblinking, from above the mantelpiece
while the small jewelled cross he gave her hangs from a golden

chain drawn tight against her neck; her youthful demeanour framed
by a broad relief of oak leaves and acorns.

The family’s prized chandelier falls from the centre of the ceiling,
dripping with strings of faceted baubles; its time-stained candles

rarely used. A hush of photos, arranged haphazardly on the timber
dresser, descends through several more recent generations

of mothers and daughters. Each of the smiling faces caught
in a pleasantly candid moment.

After all these years, the lady in the velvet dress remains thankful
her painter was so prescient as to recommend she look directly

toward him. For today, as every day, her gaze makes its way
steadfastly across the room, navigating the shining prisms of glass

to reunite with her husband, so proud in his tights and white lace.

You can find Volume 10, Issue 2 of Meniscus here. Please enjoy the selection of poetry, prose and flash fiction on offer.

Meniscus: Volume 9, Issue 2

Meniscus is an online literary journal published by the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP). The Association provides a forum for those interested in the teaching of creative and professional writing. Each issue of Meniscus offers a selection of poetry, flash fiction and short stories. Volume 9, Issue 2 of Meniscus was released in late…