Turn left. From the entrance. The garden vestibule. Into the drawing room. Eight paces. // Its walls are packed with portraits: Reynolds Raeburn Romney. Gainsborough over the fireplace. The last purchase. At three thousand guineas the most expensive. Negotiated through a neat part-exchange

Perspective distorts the carpet's clean intentions. Poems were written at this desk. Liberty spelt out. The tomb is long open and the trees crouch for a peep inside. As you draw closer. Another three paces. //

Through the tall windows: granite melody in a haze. The channel. A silt bank. Raised. In the Mersey catches light from over the water. Some days I write 'hills' in my diary. Other times they are 'mountains'. Hints of Wales. Landscaped and allegorical. Unswervingly real. Wish for a mist to shift them. Stage set for a soliloquy. Its language. Caught flickering around these domestic corners. An empty drawing room. The single hammering at 1 o'clock you mistake. For the butcher's boy's sharp bell

(overlapping female voices:

'My grandeur is made grander by my having lived a long time. Like this. High and plaintive as a silken moth. In the name of God, the silence pierced my side, nailed to the drawing room wall

'I look up to myself. Young. And posed but never poised. A dreamy girl with a creamy neck. Ready for a ball

'I'm flushed. Playing the part of innocence. Each cascade of tinkling time blushes me up for inevitable grief. Eventual. Unenviable. A Punch and Judy hammering of the meridian

'I have learned possession. Self-possessed. Possesses me. A porcelain jug full of useful bits. And bobs. You know the stuff. Things. Undifferentiated material awaiting form and function. And this is just the place to wait

'They tried to jolly me up. Ribbons. Precise and stern each suitor called me. Searching out a positive fleck to adorn. Even though you've been left alone with me in the drawing room doesn't mean you may draw closer to me I pity the pretty farm girl who has no servant to call remove the dying flowers their odour sickens my heart Mr Hart is leaving please show him

'Give me a smile. You can work. Wonders. So I hear. On a face. I should know these things I don't. I'm designed to be merely cherished now. To be loved only. After death


My bookmarks mark. Wisdom. Bonds. A crumple of promises clutched in sweat. The cobbler bangs out his unspoken love for me on the soles of my broken shoes

(male voice:

'Byron might have imagined me. Or worse. Shelley would have mirrored me. But I'm tucked away that unique thing a fake. Insert me into the speech of which I am composed. Present the first sentences (clears throat):

"Trees weave the brushed air. Time is a turning page, every quarter of an hour. A slow three decker of empty dandy chairs lusting for the wrong way round