“You need to move from here. You cannot stay
Another winter in this place alone.
There’s rising damp,” they frown with fresh dismay,
The kindly faces of concern she’s known
And grown to dread – the voices that she fears
Will tear her from her living walls of stone,
Will take away the past where still she hears
His voice that echoes from the weathered beams,
His steps that falter down the steepening years.
“It won’t be all the trauma that it seems
To move,” they say. “You’ll soon adapt in time
And you’ll have all mod cons and safety schemes.”
She thinks back to their warnings then of crime,
Their claim her house is too remote and old
With hazards to her health from grime and slime.
Yet close on eighty years she’s kept a hold
On life in spite of burglars, germs, the strain
Of joints, of jagged flagstones, damp and cold.
She cannot now give up what may remain –
The swallows that return each year to weave
Beneath her eaves, the fox that comes for grain,
The willow curving round her need to grieve.