Janice Windle


(Amsterdam) Upstairs and Downstairs at the Hermitage Museum


The carousel glitters with beads, brocades,
velvet uniforms and brass buttons
swinging round the ballroom to the Viennese waltz.
The headless dead are raised
stiff in effigy as when they lived,
corseted, cosseted, their money buying all
except immortality. The assertive faces
that belong to these bejewelled mannequins
gaze disdainfully from the walls.

The shadow in the kitchen
gossips cheerfully - only fourteen kilos
left to peel - her life here
preserved, recorded -
faceless she stands for all her sisters...
upstairs, headless and heedless,
the dancers revolve in a crystal world
that shattered long ago.

Submitted: Monday, November 02, 2009
Edited: Saturday, February 13, 2010

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  • Susan Jarvis (11/2/2009 4:47:00 AM)

    A magnificent title that does full justice to the contrasting worlds of those above and those below 'in a crystal world that shattered long ago.' - superb! Again, this poem is full of all those glorious literary techniques that tranform the Hermitage Museum into work of art. S :) (Report) Reply

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