‘Souvenir Speak’, Paul Stephenson

I speak for the keepsakes, for the trinkets

and knick-knacks that knock about in the drawer

at the back, for the painted shells and local lace

in the centre of the mantelpiece, pride of place.

I speak for thimbles on walnut sideboards – numb

from never knowing thumbs, or the prick of pins,

and for the hostages from hotels in their duvet

of dust, as if life’s purpose was just to be stolen.

I speak for the ashtrays, bells, silver lockets,

the ornament figurines, mementos with emblems

and crested spoons – the stirring reminders

of the sweetness lost in time and darkened space.

I speak for the knitted and woven from way back

when, for the looking, comparing and picking up,

putting down. For seeing it, and for wanting it.

I speak for the transaction. I speak for the purchase.