The Mat

Simple Thoughts

"Say it ain't so,

trapper in her own little world,

the sounds, smells,

and whirl of the ceiling fan


spins unnoticed, 


with the security 

and familiarity of her headphones.


The music,


the art that is decorating 

her time


sealing away

the ugly world around her.

Given unto her

the superpower


to make the whole wide world

completely melt away.

Her eyes never breaking 

a horizontal plane,


not out of submission, 

but from avoidance.

The lack

of eye-contact


can be unsettling to some, 

perhaps to the ones 

who cannot stand silence.


But in silence she works,

folding her laundry,

being sure to block all view

of any unmentionable 


she plucks up

to fold.

To the observation 

of the outsider,


an observer

would see or anything 

practically any and all

back story


only to be

most likely 



And she will never care,

never know

she is the topic of light scrutiny, 

so that script can be written, 


the unaware volunteer

for the unwarranted play

playing in front.

For there is nothing but a scene,


of washers and dryers,

an incredibly clean location, 

and with the only movement 

being the one


who has made a point

that she does not want


she becomes the only subject 


on stage.

A boring play.

Smelling of fragrance;

after the rain."

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Memories of a day at the laundry mat.

Maid Servant

She scarcely has any dreams,

She only seems,

Like a shadow,

Alive with sorrow.


Each day appears to be same,

Has nothing to claim,

Only companions of her,

Being the kitchen utensils all over.


Even if she is tormented,

She is not permitted,

To raise her voice,

Lives like a mute doll, she has no choice.


When the children,

Leave for school then,

She thinks about going occasionally,

But fate has chained her desires eternally.


Out of so-called kindness she is given!

The waste and stale food now and then,

Which she devours like a famished lioness,


To live on, to exist in the race, loveless!

View kingofwords's Full Portfolio


Mary, the kitchen maid, stood behind Mrs Broadbeam the cook in the kitchen. His Lordship wants to see me? Mary asked, looking at the cook's broad hips and behind. That's what was said, Mrs Broadbeam replied, rolling out pastry on a huge table. What's it about? Mary said. How would I know, the cook said, I'm in no position to ask that. Mary wiped her damp hands on her apron. Steam rose from pots on the stove. Who asked for me? Did he come down himself and ask for me? Mary said, standing beside the cook, looking at her worriedly. No, his Lordship didn't, that new nanny, Miss Spingle, came down. Said it was to do with the child, Miss Alice, the cook said, giving the maid, a hard look. You best get up and see his Lordship, I need you back here; there's lots to be done. Mary felt a cold finger run up and down her narrow spine. It wasn't her fault the child had crept into her bed the other night, it wasn't her fault that the child had asked her to be her adopted mother. The child must have spoken. Unless someone had seen the child leave her room the other morning, or saw her creep into he room during the night. Mary felt nauseous. She was done for. Out of a job and home. Who'd employ her after this? Shall I go now? Mary said anxiously. The message was for you to go see his Lordship as soon as you were back, the cook said. There was an annoyed tone in her voice. Mary hesitated, looking around the kitchen as if for the last time. Go on then, the cook said firmly. Mary wiped her hands as dry as she could on the apron. Am I all right as I am? Mary asked.   His Lordship wants to see you about something, he's not taking you out to dinner, the cook said. Mary limped out of the kitchen reluctantly. The corridor from the kitchen to the stairs up the next landing, seemed like a walk towards doom. She pushed her fingers through hair, adjusted her apron and dress. She climbed the stairs slowly. Another maid passed her by, carrying laundry, she nodded, walked on and away. Mary felt as if her whole insides were about to drop between her thighs. She limped onwards and pushed open the door that lead to the upper landing. The floors smelt of polish and flowers. Everything looked as if it had been polished to a bright shine. She limped nervously across the floor, looking at the paintings on the walls, vases with flowers. When she came to his Lordship's room she stood and waited. She ought to have emptied her bladder become coming, she felt full and on the edge. Mr Fedge, the butler, opened the door before her. Ah, Mary, you are here; right his Lordship is waiting for you, go on in, he said, his dark eyes moving over her as if she were a young puppy with wet paws. Mary entered the room. The butler closed the door behind her. She stood looking at the room. His Lordship was sitting at a desk at the far end of the room, the new nanny was by the window looking out. Mary stood with her red hands in front of her. Her hip ached. Her bladder seemed about to explode. His Lordship looked at her over his desk. Ah, there you are, Mary, he said, come up here and sit on the chair. I want to talk to you on matters concerning my daughter Alice. Mary felt herself go red in the face; her limbs stiffened. The child had talked. Now she was done for. She limped towards the desk, her hands shaking at her sides. The nanny didn't look around, but gazed out the window. Sit here, his Lordship said, pulling out a chair, beside him. Mary limped to the chair and sat down. He studied her deeply. Now, since my wife and Alice's mother is unwell and in a place of safety, I am hard pressed to keep the child happy and at the same time out of my hair. Nanny Spingle, here does her side of things, but I need someone to be with the child at other times when she is not at her school work and seems to wander about the house like a street urchin. Mary looked at his Lordship's face. He didn't seem angry with her or anything, but why was he telling her about needing someone for the child. The child was not her concern. She was just a kitchen maid. I can do my best to discipline the child and Nanny here does her work, but I cannot spare time or energy chasing after her all of the time. The nanny turned around, her eyes settled on Mary, then on his Lordship. The eyes mellowed on meeting his. Alice needs a lady's maid, the nanny said. Yes, that's it, his Lordship said, a lady's maid.  Mary stared at them both. Were they going to ask her if she could recommend someone? One of the other maids? I'm not sure I know who could do the job, your Lordship, Mary said. The nanny gazed at her, her eyes darker, less friendly. We thought you could do it, the nanny said. Yes, Alice seems to have taken to you and that is a good start, his Lordship said. Mary stood open mouthed. Me? she said softly. Yes, you will be ideal, he said, smiling, eyeing her. Of course you would have to sleep in her room and be there most of the day and some of the night, the nanny said. And of course a new uniform and an increase in your wages, his Lordship said. Mary pushed her knees together. Her bladder seemed about to explode. I would love to, Mary said, do my best for her, she added. I've no doubt you will, he said, looking relieved, wiping his hands together as if a dark deed had been done. When shall I start? Mary asked, thinking of the cook waiting for her below stairs in the kitchen. Nanny looked at his Lordship. I will ask Fedge to look around for a new kitchen maid, she said. His Lordship nodded agreement. Next Sunday you will begin, his Lordship said, taking Alice to church and keep her near and well behaved. The nanny looked at Mary searchingly, then at his Lordship. She smiled at him. Mary sat waiting; her stomach turning over. Right, that's settled, nanny said, you may go now. Yes, Mary, thank you. I will inform the child of your employment, he said, his eyes looking her over briefly, then back at the nanny. Mary stood up and bowed her head and limped from the room, self conscious of her being stared at. She went out the room and closed the door behind her. She stood there vacant. Her mind was rushing with words and ideas and visions and her bladder about to burst. She limped away from the door, along the polished floor, through the thick door separating the upper rooms from lower orders. She limped slowly towards the staff toilet on the second floor, her mind in both a state of joy and at the same time feeling out on a limb, out of her depths. She entered the toilet and shut the door. Footsteps moved across the room above. Voices called from along the corridor. Some one laughed. She sat and closed her eyes; her bladder emptied, her heartbeat slowed, her nerves calmed. A lady's maid. She repeated it in her mind; turned the phrase over and over in her mind like a boiled sweet. What would Mrs Broadbeam say? How would the other staff be with her now? She saw the child in her mind. How had she crept into her bed? And why? Suddenly, unexpectedly, Mary began to cry.

View dadio's Full Portfolio


Mary wakes from
her, troubled, uneasy
sleep. She turns and
sees Alice behind her


looking at her. What
are you doing here?
she asks, sitting up,
looking down at the


child. Wanted to be
near you, Alice replies.
You can't come into

my bed, what will


they say if they find
you here? Mary's voice  
rises higher than she

meant. They won’t,


Alice says, no one
knows. They'll miss
you, Mary says, look

for you, and if they come,


what then? The child
sits up, rubs her eyes.
I'll hide, she says. Mary

sighs, lays back on the


bed, looks at the ceiling.
The child lies next to her,
head on her thin shoulder.

You can't do this, Alice.


But I have, the child says.
Your bed's lumpy. If they
find you in here, I’ll lose

my job and God knows


what'll happened then.
There is black spider
creeping along the dull

ceiling, slow movements.


We mustn't tell them,
Alice says. She runs a
small finger along

Mary's arm. You can't


stay here, Mary says,
you must go back to
your own bed before

they find you've gone.


Don't you love me any
more? Alice softly asks,
looking sideways at the

maid beside her. Yes,


of course I do, but this
mustn't happen again.
I'll be gone, then who

will you have to love,


now your mother's ill
and locked up? Alice
frowns and looked at

her hands, small, white,


pink. Mother used to
let me into her bed and
cuddle her. Her pink

fingers join and she


makes. I'm not your
mother, Mary says,
I’m just a maid who

wants keep her job.


Alice looks at her.
You said you'd be my
adopted mother. Mary

looks at her biting a lip.


Yes, I did. She looks
away, at the window
where lights begins

to show. All right,


but you must go back
now, before you're
missed. Can I come

another time? Alice


asks, her bright eyes
gazing. Yes, if I say so,
no creeping into my

bed at night unless


I know, Mary says.
Alice nods her head.
Best get back then,

she says. Be careful.


I will. And if I’m seen,
I’ll say I was sleep
walking, Alice says.

You mustn't lie, Mary


says. Should I tell them
the truth then? Alice asks,
smiling, getting down

from the bed. Be careful,


sleep walk just this once.
The child nods, opens the
door and closes with a

click. Mary gets out of


bed, opens the door, looks
along the dim passage.
The child has now gone.

Silence. Cold morning


air. A hard frost maybe.
What if she's seen? What
then? She shuts the door,

pours cold water from a


white jug into a white bowl.
Morning wash. Hands
into the water and throws

into her face. The coldness


wakes her. Far off a bird
sings. What if she's found
out of bed? What a turn up.

Poor kid. Me another mother


Nearby a church bell rings.

View dadio's Full Portfolio


The stables
where horses
snort and move


and grooms work
and sky dull
and greyish


Alice walks
holding on
for dear life


to the hand
of Mary
the one she


has chosen
to be her
new mother


fingers red
with washing
chores and things


but it's warm
as she holds
the hand tight


Mary talks
of cold nights
noisy bed


attic mice
and spiders
in corners


of the room
Alice says
I could stay


in your room
keep you warm
cuddle up


hold you close
as I did
with Mother


in her bed
before she
was locked up


with illness
of her brain
Mary sighs


feels the hand
in her own
small and warm


small fingers
tiny nails
pink and pure


different class
than her own
we will see


Mary says
stable sounds
horses snort


their large heads
looking out
big black eyes


large white teeth
busy grooms
at their work


Alice looks
inner fear
but draws near


wants to stroke
Mary lifts
Alice up


her red hands
wedged beneath
small armpits


mother's love
smells the soap
in the hair


on the blue
Alice smiles


feels the horse
smooth and hot
on her hand


Mary holds
feels the heart
beating soft


as she holds
Alice up
to the horse


secret child
in her heart

none must know
of this love
secret pact


lift her on
a groom says
Alice thrills


lifted there
Mary holds
the groom laughs


in loud barks
in the blood
this horse love


the groom says
Alice smiles


shining out
of her eyes
Mary holds


her tightly
keeps her there
on the horse


safe and sound
then later
after that


lifts her down
to the ground
as the horse


with the groom
walk away
come on then


Mary says
let's go back
your father


will wonder
where you are
Alice nods


holds the hand
soft and warm
wants to be


close to her
but she sees
by the house


Nanny stand
arms folded
grim features


dressed in black
Mary holds
the child's hand


tighter still
walking back.

View dadio's Full Portfolio


Alice sits
in the room
with blackboard


and easel
and small desk
and small chair


with Nanny
stern and strict
pointing at


the blackboard
with her stick
teaching her


her letters
the grammar


by long rote
and command


and Alice
knows now that
any cause


of Nanny's
will bring her


her father's
hard hand smacks


whack and whack
she sits still
taking note


but bored she
stares out high
windows at


tall tree tops
and blue skies
thinking of


her mother
locked away
(ill in her


head Nanny
coldly said)
then she thinks


of her new
mother who


works below
stairs(low stairs
her father


often says)
the one with
the red raw


fingers thin
and young who


said she would
be her new


mother but
to strive to
learn to do


her best and
so she does
but thinks of


the time when
lessons are
over she


can sneak down
below stairs
and along


to where her
adoptive new


mother works
and feel her
embrace her


earthy smell
her soft cheek
against that


rough cloth of
apron the
red fingers


her long hair


words but still
the nanny
drones on the


lesson now
taking its
toll boredom


sinking in
wishing her


mother would
come and take
her away


for a walk
to the horse
stables or


into town
holding her
hand the red


hand holding
her pink one
or dreams of


up to her
in her bed


feeling her
tender warmth


but Nanny
still drones on
the long lesson


word on word
keeping her
from the arms


and caress
and earthy
smell of cloth


of her new
young mother


below stairs
Alice yawns


her small hand
over mouth
knowing this


blowing soft
from her palm
to her young


mother a
secret kiss.

View dadio's Full Portfolio


Alice stands
in the room
by the stairs,
at the end
of the house;
the low end,
servant's end,
Father said,
don't go there,
but she does.


She goes down
the back stairs,
down long dark
watching staff
in their world,
the kitchen,
the wash room,
other rooms.


And this room.
She watches
the thin maid
called Mary


Why're you here?
Mary asks.


To see you,
Alice says.


Why see me?
Mary asks.


I love you,
Alice  says.


Mary frowns.
You shouldn't
use those words,
Mary says
turning round.


Alice stands
her small hands
in pockets
of her blue


But I do,
I love you.


Why is that?
Mary asks.


You are kind
like Mother
used to be
before she
had to leave.


Mary heard,
rumours spread,
the mother
had to leave,
had problems
in the head,
locked away
so they say,
for a year
and a day.


She'll be back,
Mary says.


Alice sighs,
I love you,
I want you
to stand in
for Mother,
between us,
Alice says.


Mary sits
on a chair,
flushes red,
between us
I can be
I suppose,
Mary says.


of her pledge
she gazes
at the child
standing there.


Need a hug,
Alice says,


Mary feels
at a lost
what to do.


Can I sit
on your lap?
Alice asks.


Mary nods
and opens
her thin arms.


Alice walks
to Mary
and climbs up
on her lap,
lays her head
on Mary's
silky breasts,
smells apples
and green soap.


Mary hugs
her closer,
kisses on
the child's head.


Love you, too,
Mary says.

Our secret,
Alice says,
none must know.


None will know,
Mary says,
just we two.


Nanny's voice
echoes down
the passage
Best go now,
Mary says,
learn for me
at lessons,
do your best,
my daughter


Alice nods,
kisses quick,
then goes up
the back stairs
out of sight.


Seen Alice?
Nanny asks.


Not at all,
Mary lies,
sees the dark
cruel eyes
scan the room.


She'll be pained
if she's caught
down this end,
Nanny says.


Then she gone,
her black skirt
swishing loud,
the black shoes
going click,
clack, click, clack.


Mary gives
a rude sign
with fingers
behind fat
Nanny's back.

View dadio's Full Portfolio


Alice walks with
the thin maid
to the stables, holding
the thin hand with


red knuckles, the
mild limp crossing
the narrow path like
a wounded ship. Do


you like the horses,
then? the maid asks,
bringing the eyes
upon the child,


holding tight the
pale pink hand.
Alice nods, yes,
I like the black one,


like its dark eyes
and coat. The maid
eyes the pinafore,
the hair tidy and neat,


the shiny shoes, the
tiny hand in hers.
Have you ridden
any yet? the maid


asks. No, not allowed
as yet, Alice says,
feeling the red thumb
rub the back of her


hand. Shame, the maid
says, perhaps soon.
Alice doesn't think so,
neither her father nor


the new nanny will
permit that; her mother
says she may, but that
amounts to little, in


the motions of things.
She can smell the
horses, hay and dung.
The red hand lets her


loose. The stable master
stares at her, his thick
brows bordering his
dark brown eyes,


conker like in their
hardness and colour.
Have you come to
look at the horses?


he says, holding a
horse near to her.
She nods, stares
at the horse, brown,


tall, sweating,
loudly snorting.
The maid stares
at the horse, stands


next to the child,
hand on the arm.
You're not to ride
them yet, he says,


but you can view,
I'm told. Alice runs
her small palm down
the horse's leg and


belly, warm, smooth,
the horse indifferent,
snorting, moving the
groom master aside.


The maid holds the
child close to her.
Be all right, he won't

harm, he says, smiling.


He leads the horse away,
the horse swaying to
a secret music, clip-
clop-clip-clop. Alice


watches the departing
horse. Come on, the
maid says, let's see
the others and lifts


the child up to view
the other horse in the
stable over the half
open door, then along


to see others in other
half doors. Alice smiles
at the sight and smells
and sounds. She senses


the red hands holding
her up, strong yet thin,
the fingers around her
waist. Having seen them


all, the maid puts her
down gently. Ain't that
good? the maid says.
Alice smiles, yes, love


them, she  says. She
feels the thin hand, hold
her pale pink one again,
as they make their way


back to the house, the
slow trot of the limping
gait, the maid's thumb
rubbing her hand, smiling


through eyes and lips,
the morning sun blessing
their heads through the
trees and branches above.


if only, Alice thinks, looking
sidelong on at the thin
maid's smile, her father
did this, and showed such love.

View dadio's Full Portfolio

Forever and........

Marriage ?
Forever and........

Fresh maid and English rose.

I doffed my cap !
And hitched my heart unto a star,
Entwined with broken thorn.
That what, with time, was sublime.
Though in the myriad of life
Didst not stand the test of time.
   Giajl © Jim Love 
Extract from the diaries of "Jock Love A Soldier & A Poet" : On the Road :   Hellenbach CFT 1986.
View giajl's Full Portfolio