Updated: Jun 11, 2021
It was the best of times:
the garden was at its most beautiful.
The bride and all the pink and white bridesmaids
from the blush pink of the magnolia
to the dear little white faces of the daisies
bloomed in anticipation and delight,
the grass was cut and watered and fed until it
captured the green spark of the April sun.
I pushed myself out in my wheelchair,
the first day it had been warm enough for me
in these worst of times to leave the house,
to find out what had gone on in my absence –
and what I found was my absence.
These were not my blossoms, my bulbs,
my mossy grass. Someone had been in
while my back was turned and transformed
my garden into Pollyanna-land.
In my garden wedding, the groom was late,
the best man stoned, I’d never met
the daisy-like flower girls before,
the grass was too soft for high heels
and I twisted my ankle, the promised
brief shower turned into a thunderstorm,
and the bridegroom’s mother said to my mother:
these mixed marriages, they never last.
But those were after all the best of times.
The worst of times followed as the ghastly
mistake of a honeymoon was fleshed out
by a sordid blow by blow of a marriage,
(a thing I was too cowardly to run away from)
as a dirge was heard on every piano
from every open back window of the street
where people knew of my shame and sorrow.
Best of times, worst of times. At least
they were better than being stuck in this
wheelchair with only the ghosts of memories
of my poor old Pollyanna self to keep me
company these dark and solitary nights.
Written by ROSEMARY MCLEISH
Artwork ‘The Worst of Times’ by MIKE CLAY