The Lady in the Straw Hat
A glimpse – that’s all it was – as I drove by.
But it was enough to conjure up her world,
this lady with the straw hat.
She moved with a thoughtful gait,
cutting flowers from small garden rounds,
holding a rattan-like basket by its high
arched handle, filled with long-stemmed flowers,
her gloved hand holding garden shears.
Her wide-brimmed hat cast a soft shadow
over her face, and a loose pale yellow
sleeveless dress was the embodiment of coolness itself.
Mature in years, intelligent, discerning,
a woman of taste and refinement, books and travel –
all suggested in her thoughtfulness and sharp,
and well-bred comportment.
Perhaps she lived alone now. The voice and touch
of him with whom she once had shared her life
no longer there. Yet she seemed content and settled,
adjusted to whatever loss she might have known.
This morning she’s in her garden, a refuge perhaps
from memories and loss, where white and yellow
snapdragons, daylilies, bachelor buttons and other
flowers suitable for her table.
Final cuttings join the others as she leaves
by way of the narrow flagstone path beneath
the shade of a dogwood tree.
We may suppose old friends – the last of many –
are coming for dinner.
Inside (I imagine) she will arrange the flowers
in a cherished vase – perhaps her mother’s – on a
dining table of lustrous wood – a family heirloom.
French cambric napkins, artfully shaped, stand
each in its plate of Sèvres china; the tall, bright red
beeswax candles waiting patiently to offer
their special ambiance when guests arrive.
Everything must be just so – just the way
it used to be when he was there with his approval.
Copyright © Maurice Rigoler | Year Posted 2021
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