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I shall not, I think, grow
round, brown and sweet as a cobnut,
but sour and suck-cheeked
as a December crab-apple. I shall sit,
narrow-eyed, wide-kneed, clot-veined,
in a chair by the porch,
malodorous as slurry.
I shall slew gossip with rancour,
dispense trench-mouthed wisdom,
breathe on the embers of old feuds,
espouse boundary disputes,
and cast pervading doubt
regarding the parentage
of the village's chidren.
Those same village children
will find me repellant,
but be unable to run
from my gin-trap of tales
of ailments, vile cures, Rubik's cube,
drowned farmgirls and kittens.
I will cause many a wetted bed.
Naturally, my cottage,
unkempt and unlovely, with its
inappropriate windows, will ensure
depression in property values,
an explosion of dandelions.
There will be nostalgia, I know,
for the use of the ducking stool.
And when incomers ask of me,
as I know they always will, if
I've lived here the whole of my life,
I'll stretch into my bumpkin smile,
narrow eyes, and give the unvarying reply:
Oh, no my dears,
no, certainly not yet.
© Evelyn Cook
© E-magazine LiterNet, 10.05.2004,
№ 5 (54)