Mrs Jones, Llaneilian Rectory

by Shelagh Sinnett
(Penysarn)

Mrs Jones lived in the old rectory in Llaneilian from 1941 until around 1998. This is a poem about her in the days when she was my neighbour.


Mrs Jones

Every time I see the tap
Upon the outhouse wall
I hear the metal bucket clang
I hear the song she always sang
I see the water fall

Each day she came with measured step
Along the pot holed track
She waited as the water spilled
Gathered strength as the bucket filled
Then slowly laboured back

Since forty one she'd lived within
The crumbling rectory walls
No phone, no car, no running water
No husband, son or loving daughter
To share the empty halls

Just antique clocks and china dogs
and endless dusty books
The relics of a bygone age
Greek and Latin on every page
Her substitute for love

And when the farmer came with tools
to blast the old pipes clean
She turned away his offered help
Preferring to keep for herself
the comfort of routine

The children went to visit her
of this they never tired
Gazing rapt as she told her tales
of ghosts and murders, of old Wales
All gather round the fire

And I would find on my doorstep
As early as the dew
Rwdan, shallots or daffodils
Or old jam jars with pickles filled
wrapped up in last week's news

Then suddenly the house lay still
Just shadows of the past
On windowsills old jam jars crowd
The old house wears an ivy shroud
She waves goodbye at last

The unused tap, the auctioned books
bear witness to the fact
Her sort will never come again
Lugging buckets in wind or rain
Along the pot holed track

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