Summer Guest House
The guest house stands
on the brow of the sandy hill--
The path up is littered with shells and stones
rescued from nearby beaches.
Gathering spot for family,
traveling from Vermont, France, nearby...
bringing dogs, coolers, bags
of chips, bikes and helmets.
Tatiana often lingers to greet us;
her accent welcomes, charms us,
as her husband finishes mowing.
At night we hear the laughter from a nearby cottage as we sit around the table
teaching Millionaire Rummy to the youngest grandchild.
Her small hands struggle to hold and sort the cards:
kings together, queens together--
laughing we re-invent the rules.
Each summer we browse a stranger's library:
medical books, biographies of Russian dissidents,
English and Russian. We study paintings
on the walls: a jewel toned icon, Tatiana's
sketch of her mother, viewed in the mirror
above the sideboard--now in Russian Nirvana.
Feet track in sand and salt, add to the patina
of the floors, wear down the corner of the rug bit by bit.
A translucent beach stone joins others in the walkway;
the chipped pane of glass in the sliding porch door
reminds us where the dog ran into it.
The stars are brighter here, at the Guest House,
closer to Earth; celebrants of family birthdays.
Fingers mark the mixing bowls,
concocting a birthday cake for three generations:
Sister, daughter, granddaughters, an oft absent son-in-law.
Colt-legged cousins decorate cake, kitchen,
noses with cascades of whipped cream!
Smoke of birthday candles rises into star studded night;
soon we pack up the sandy towels,
take the damp bathing suits from the line,
go our separate ways, putting a
water-smoothed pebble in a pocket.
--Peggy Brightman 2017
This is beautiful! Thank you so much!
Now the house is immortalized in verse - I am deeply moved and honoured. I hope to see you next summer.
With all good wishes to your entire family,