For Charlotte


You were helping me pick out wedding china

and me, always, not wanting to get it wrong

I said I was going to go for the plain white classic simple stuff

and there was this set with a blue design of woodland scenes

with flowers and trees and little birds and squirrels and deer scamper-

ing across the plates and bowls and

dishes and there were big bowls and tiny

bowls and they were lovely but too fancy perhaps for me and

who would want little birds and stuff peeping at them from behind the trees as they ate

their toast in the morning and you – you, with the gigantic joy you bring to the tiniest

things: a cup of tea, a colour, a word, a bar, a beat, a baby’s breath said,


I would!

I would love to see little birds peeping at me and woodland creatures scampering around

my beans on toast – I can’t think of anything nicer.


I put them on the wedding list.

You were right.


And later, when everything broke, the birds and the squirrels and the deer saw it all.


And now there’s one bowl and one bird and every day when I sit down to eat,

I think of you and you’re

with me

in the trees.