Concerning Nell: ‘Change and decay in all around I see’

The roses are drooping in the vase. EBB’s poem bears a whiff of the past.

Dust has settled in tufts on the books crammed into the shelves of the old family house.

This is the house where Nell lived, her last home, which she disliked. Their move into town meant down-sizing and paying more for less—going from two acres to one, from a sprawling, turreted old house to an old villa of standard size. The town house stands on a kind of ridge exposed to the sou’wester’s bite. The bedrooms are on the cold side of the house. The toilet is dark and narrow, the shower in the frigid wash-house only three steps from the front door. Nell made the best of it by growing begonias in the glasshouse. By adding a porch to catch every drop of afternoon sun. By decorating the smallest, warmable room for her own use. By furnishing the drawing room with elegant cream curtains and sofa covers, displaying a few good ceramic pieces along with her favoured paintings. There, her little desk sat beside the north-facing window, looking out onto the tops of shrubs that have since grown into towering trees—which block all sun.

We’re looking through the bookshelves. Weighing, sniffing, sneezing. Marvelling.

Would one of my readers enjoy this tiny tome?