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.