My mum had loads of brass ornaments and I had to help clean them. This poem is based on that job, which I detested!

It appeared in the Riptide Anthology.



First day of Spring.


My mother flings windows open,

‘to let the devil out.’ She fastens

her Paisley-patterned apron,

gathers weapons of dirt destruction:

scrubbing brush, Ajax, bucket, mop.


I have to polish, but I like the way

the ‘Brasso’ uncovers lost treasure.

My fingers are licorice sticks,

as mother, streaming with sweat,

inspects a gleaming plate.

‘You’re doing a grand job.’

She rolls up Dandycord mats

and takes them outside to wash.

A glint of sunlight – our prints

already collecting dust.