Tea With Anushka

A pome:
(revised for me new book):


I was summoned to tea with Anushka, 
She haunts antiquarian bookshops 
Liberating volumes of art, 
Philosophy, music, poetry 
From dusty shelves 
To stock her private library.

She gets found out 
Police are called 
An anonymous van dispatched 
And she has shelves to fill… yet again.

So she takes a cab to any town 
Where she’s not known 
And browses antique shops for curios 
And replacement culture, philosophy, 
Poetry especially.

A rusting sign, “L’Hermitage” 
Hangs loose on the wall 
Of the basement flat she calls her dacha.
Hinting at a Romanov ancestry 
She tries to shroud in mystery.

I indulged the conceit
With a gift of vodka,

A rubber glove shook my hand, 
Soapy water splashed my cuff.

Anushka moaned, “It’s the cleaner’s day off.” 
And asked what I thought of her shiny bust –
Thomas Paine on the new vitrine?

And did I mind popping to the corner Spar 
For tea bags, milk, Petit Fours 
And put them on her tab?

I smiled, “Leave it all to me,” 
And cleared her slate… yet again.

We drank Darjeeling from bone-china cups 
Spread Laughing Cow cheese triangles 
On Borodinsky bread 
With sterling silver butter knives 
And polished off the fancies 
On the doilied Lazy Susan.

“Perhaps a cigarette?” 
She offered her next-to-next-to-last Sobranie 
Lit it reverently from a candle 
Flickering on a repro gilt torchère.

Smoke haloed her grey-golden hair 
Her face shone, evoking, 
Rublov’s Icon of the Trinity.

An anonymous van nosed the street… yet again.
Urgent knocking broke the spell. 
Two frozen tears loosed from 
‘Nushka’s ‘natural look’ lashes.

I reached to brush the memories 
Trickling her cheek.

© coolhermit 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Love this. It painted wonderful imagery inside my head. I envy your talent.


Nice to read of your inspiration for this one, as ever your paint brush of words is in full flow, such rich imagery, a delight to be in and around the poem. Keith

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