Longlisted Poem 2012

Elizabeth Purdy

Driffield School, East Riding of Yorkshire


There was something about your furniture
That felt at odds with all the things I knew.
Compared to the modern architecture
And furnishings I was accustomed to
It was too dark and too ornamental.
You used to tell me occasionally
How much it was worth in material
And sentimental terms. Sat awkwardly
I wondered at what point things suddenly
Stopped being merely old and outmoded
Paraphernalia and could then be
Antiques and have all the rarity and
Value associated with the term.
Maybe it was the same for people too,
Only in reverse, I knew that you yearned
For a time as antique as your bureau;
When you were young. What point did it happen?
When was it that people began to speak
To you as if you could be mistaken
By anything? When did you have to seek
Aid from those who depended upon you?
And patronisation clouded your days,
As if by aging you had less value,
The reciprocal of antiquity.
I, for all my youthful intelligence,
Could not comprehend you, our voyages
Spanned across generations the distance
Between us was too vast, like the changes
In furniture, I could not close the gap.
© Elizabeth Purdy

Project Details

  • Date January 10, 2015
  • Tags 2012 Voyages - Longlisted Poems