Monday, 8 June 2015

Child Peggy

She always loved the story of The Little Match Girl, the Victorian truths embedded there that became myth, and therefore relevant.
Not relevant to her own upbringing with a wayward mother dressed in sequins
And pearls with a volatile temperament. Peggy’s mother could unleash her ideas in the flip of a second, rejecting the invention of childhood to dress her daughter in sophisticated outfits. Veiled hats, fox fur capes and high heels all when she was only ten years old.
In those days, Child Care Officers (before they became known as Social Workers),
would tut and fume at the frequent home visits, but helpless in the face of the pageantry, the family emblems and the intimidating spire of the ancestral seat.
No, poverty was not on the agenda, but the psychological neglect, the capriciousness of the mothering was evident for all to see.
Peggy read widely, the library her lair, hiding in the many cold, bare rooms of the castle where she grew up, preferring books to meals.
She read about the child transportation to Australia and fancied herself working on a vast, hot, outback farm with lots of rabbit shooting forays in the bush. But this was just one of her many poignant songs in the dark. In her battered children’s shoes she would raid the filing cabinet full of papers, looking and always searching. Looking, always searching for stories she could turn into myths to make sense of her life.
In those featureless rooms she would walk the wide floorboards and pretend they were the deck of a ship under a cloudless sky, she would lie down and dream. She would bang her feet and punch the fetid air, then, pacing again she would throw about the old dusty Mateus Rose wine bottles, taking out stubs of waxy candles, she would scrawl on the floorboards: these are my own Songs of Innocence: fuck you William Blake.

The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule 4/6/2015

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