Gillian Barton

The cup like me is broken. Was broken….and lay for many years in pieces. Not now. Now the sun is coming out; lights up the cup and the cracks. Cup and I tell the same story – I too lost parts of myself in the breaking. My cup lost its whole round rim, lost lips to the touch of it, its saucer, its place with the others. I see the cracks and remember the loss, the black bay, the hollow. Together once again, I can go there and look and see and stay and touch my old cup and rim, and sip tea with Edith and the others, or alone. Broken bones mend. Waters rise. A cup becomes a round with a hole in it, like a bagel, be held and warm my hands. My old cup.


Do you remember the bone china cups, Royal Doulton on the trolley? How so slowly, such care, you carried cup and saucer to the guest. Royal Doulton for guest; Suzi Cooper for us, for everyday. Do you remember? Silver teapot, silver tongs for cubes of sugar, milk in a silver jug. Do you see them all washed, dried, curled around each other in baskets in the Dutch cupboard, locked up and away. So pretty, perfect lips, so neat all handles pointing the same way out the door, sitting on the white damask tablecloth, loose tealeaves, thin sandwiches.

Do you care about all this now?

Oh yes, please put out the cups. Please clean the silver. Please let’s sit like ladies as if the sky wasn’t falling; as if the leaves on the lawn didn’t have to be folded over one by one.


22 March 1977

Today I threw a cup against the kitchen wall. Shattered into millions. It’s the welling up then the red curtain descends. Like a river. I can’t stop this – don’t know how even if I wanted to and he’s such a good target. Bull’s red eye every time. Some tiny shards got into takkies. Thought we’d picked up every millionth piece. But I missed those. And he did too and put them on and went off for a barefoot-in-takkies run. When he came back and took them off, his soles were coverd with blood. My cup of blood runneth over. Hell.


It was good child left behind, do you understand? The dark child found a home in the forest far away. I say you found the things you needed to survive. When I look at a photo of you I see the bridge you tried to fashion. A man and a woman sit on the Sanderson linen sofa: the father looks defeated – he’ll live another eight years – your one hand on his shoulder, the other on the pale-faced woman. You’re bright as a little neon light. And a serious small boy sits at his mother’s feet. He will try later on to save her, fails and goes to his father in heaven. Can this marriage be saved?


Today Ruth, Lucy, Edith and Rae are all coming and as we always do we’ll cackle away like the witchy women we are! We won’t make anything together today because Ruth’s offered to read the stories in our teacups and try and teach us how. But she says we’ve got to stop thinking straight and go in the back door – well, easier said than done. But she’s so good at reading tealeaves….Rae no doubt, will tease her about her black gypsy blood. Ruth says it’s because she likes to sleep around which means sometimes she sleeps in her bed in the attic and sometimes in her other bed downstairs. I’m almost 100% sure there’s no hot lover between her sheets, but you never know with Ruthie! And what that’s got to do with reading tealeaves, only Sheela-na-Gigh knows! Anyway she likes my old teacup best…she says, We’re all cracked up and crazy too. I’m looking forward to our Early Grey and tealeaves and my reading. Something’s coming, I feel it in the wind and my dream last night of blood welling up.

By monthliesblog Posted in Uncategorized

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