I hadn’t written down 

what I actually said, once my mother, still dead, had caught the crowd’s attention, just before the clanking grind that carried her on to ascension. 

I stood beside her, gravely struck 

by a moment that called for a heart to heart, before one and all, 

with the woman who’d played Lady Bracknell on stage, 

to my Cecily

through Wilde’s Important and Ernest gift,

it was left to us each to admit:

‘All the world’s a stage’

it’s true and we both knew it,

and even though the parts we’d played

had often been austere or unkind,

love underwrites humility.

I thanked her then for seeing me,

for forgiving me all my blindness to

all that had ever been

at the edge of the foot-lights’ shadow.  

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