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The Grand Hall

Sitting here in a great hall of a grand stately home,
Full of objects that may or may not serve a purpose;
Which is of little consequence, but I must explore them one by one, always
Knowing that I have no interest in their meaning,
Or use to gain from them.

There is a bureau of antiqued mahogany.
Even I know that it is not the genuine article,
Despite its beautifully crafted legs, reflective surfaces, bloodied by the varnish of machines, not children's hands.
It reeks: of status and ambition, not age, not experience, and may once have loved the space it occupies.

To my right a chair crumbles against the wall
(it is old, worn by graft and toil and pointless generations descending to its springs with sighs of sorrow, exasperation, relief).
Outstretched arms turn inwards to discourage
Trespassers and protect those permitted to settle in its sanctuary.

The chair's twin has weathered more fairly:
The horsehair stuffing remains secure under
Still thick damask; the cushions, though dented by age and wear, all still plump.
It has always resisted the location, leaving scores in the parquet to mark its protest.
Waxing always conceals the waning that must follow.

A dresser's double mirror throws back the contents of the hall, unwittingly tripling
Their presence and depleting ther status.
The mirror on the right is cracked from top to bottom, the left is extraordinary in it's clarity.
It is loved by the young and the beautiful
Who see within the glass a past eternally occupied
By the young, and the beautiful.

This nest of tables have huddled together
Against the years, clinging, shivering, to cream lace doilies.
Once three, the largest had daubed itself in painted ideals, been purchased separately,
To be later abandoned or replaced.