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Poems -> Dark :  My Cousin Rachel
Tags: Cornwall   My Cousin Rachel   Rachel   cousin  
 
Orphaned as a small child -
raised by my elder cousin, Ambrose -
secure together, in our "house of men" -
Ambrose, my cousin -
yet, father, mother, brother -
Ambrose was all. My world.

They used to hang men at Four Turnings
in the old days.
Not any more, though.
I was seven, when
Ambrose showed me
the hanging body of a man.
The man's name was Tom Jenkyn.
He used to sell lobsters.
He murdered his wife,
and for his crime,
Tom Jenkyn hung.

Our damp Cornish winters
did not agree with Ambrose,
necessitating travel -
winters to be spent on the Continent.
And in Florence,
in his forties,
that what where, and when, he met
the Countess Sangalletti -
My Cousin Rachel.
She apparently shared his love of gardening.
Then came the letter,
announcing that
Ambrose and My Cousin Rachel
were married.
I had not know such jealousy -
such intense jealousy - before.

And so few letters.
And when they came...

And that journey to Florence -
and the churches -
and the haunting face
of a beggar woman.

The sudden shock -
the news of
Ambrose's death.

And the villa -
and the fountain -
boy holding a shell -
the laburnun trees -
the unreality of that foreign land.

And, back at home, the hatred
that grew -
of a Rachel
who never existed -
and the love
for a Rachel
who - did that one exist?

Sunday lunches
with the Kendalls and Pascoes -
and My Cousin Rachel.
Especially, that first one.
Especially, the last.

And Rainaldi - hated by Ambrose,
hated by me.
Regarded by My Cousin Rachel as
friend, confidante -
maybe lover, as well?

And the pearls -
around Rachel's white neck -
and a wedding -
my marriage to Rachel -
a wedding
that never took place.

And my own illness.
And - was Rachel innocent?
Was Rachel guilty?

An evening walk
in the terraced garden.
A warning, not heeded.

The image of a granite slab -
a pocket book -
letter from Ambrose - buried,
along with the pocket book.

They used to hang men at Four Turnings
in the old days.
Not any more, though.


inspired by Daphne du Maurier's 'My Cousin Rachel'
Author
paula-puddephatt
Author paula-puddephatt
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Date 2014/10/8 15:57:32
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