The first three stanze have a distinctly Alan Bennett feel to my mind.
Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media
From: Max Richards <[log in to unmask]>
Sender: "Poetryetc: poetry and poetics" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 22:24:09
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "Poetryetc: poetry and poetics" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: The Audit - corrected
Sorry! I just sent a version superseded by the one I copy in here.
[Phrases taken from Chris's email last week, and done over a la Larkin
1950s... Apols to Chris... From Max]
(for Chris Jones)
Finally, so their old family house
could be sold, all the cupboards and drawers
must be emptied. Some hadnšt been looked in
since Mother, widowed, filed a tax return,
her last, and joined their Father in the grave.
They say Keep old cheque books, in case
suspicion against your family rise
in the Tax Office, and they audit you.
The country must be deep in dead receipts.
So it fell to him, to sift old papers,
admire the cheapness of things then (yet
money then went further), lost memories.
Letters turned up, mere notes mostly, some penned
carefully, from son to parents, kept
from times before phones displaced the post
maybe because in his childish hand.
Every year had left more envelopes,
greeting cards, snaps with or without names.
Stowed from sight, one day these scraps
might make an album. Their sons
might well not care, feeling hoardingšs sad,
but just one, grateful, may wonder...
We knew they loved us, Mum and Dad,
but now, these words of such endearment,
never uttered in our hearing, prove that
these hoarded letters, cards, and jottings
sing still of their own mutual love.š
These seemed still too hard to be disposed of.
Their tender passion had gone undetected.
Hešd been told: To prevent crying,
push your tongue hard up into your mouth,
stare into the middle distance. He did.
Max Richards (best phrases taken from Chris!)