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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Groceries - deadline 8-23-12 10 am NY time (08/16/12)

TITLE: Matchless Soap and Ancient Glory
By Margaret Kearley


Matchless Soap and Ancient Glory

In the corner of a junk yard,
Hidd’n by debris’ jetsam,
My eye fell on a treasure
I thought I’d not see again -
An old old chair so worn, so old,
Lay sadly with life’s dregs,
Unloved, faded and battered,
With three remaining legs.
I fingered the enamel back
Which rustily displayed
‘Watson’s great Matchless Cleanser,
The best soap ever made.’
‘What tales you’d tell,’ I whispered
To my friend of yesteryear,
‘What anecdotes you could recall,
What stories for my ear.’

And as I pondered history
It seemed my friend whispered to me.....

‘For seven lengthy decades
As history unfurled,
The tiny shop of groceries
Was my exclusive world.
Resting beside the counter,
In quietness, discreet,
I offered a brief resting place
To tired aching feet.
I saw so many come and go,
From every walk and station,
The old, the middle-aged, the young,
Each passing generation.
I felt the toddler teeter
On my wooden well-worn seat
As he reached into a tall glass jar
For a bright mouth-watering sweet.
I gently gave assistance
And offered succour brief
As the sad, bereaved and lonely
Shared a tear and tale of grief.
I listened to the sirens,
War-time air split by their drone,
Quick feet ran to the shelters,
For a time I stood alone.
The tight-packed shelves grew empty,
I saw stock disappear,
As the ravages and rationing
Continued year on year.
Then came the shouts of victory,
Joy overcame despair
And the grocery shop was flooded
For its meagre party fare.
70 years the grocery shop
Was my sole habitation,
Just once was I taken outside –
Street Party! Coronation!

The years passed on so quickly,
Stock changes grew and grew
Old brands and extinct packages
Gave way to labels new:
Risotto rice and pastas,
Hamburgers in a bun,
Curries and flavours of the world,
And frozen meals for one!

But life was quickly changing
The bell on our shop door
Was often still as many now
Shopped at the Superstore.
The seven lengthy decades
Were coming to an end,
Your Gran, my boss, needed to rest
And that’s my tale, my friend.’

In the corner of my hallway,
With my family’s jetsam,
My eye rests on a treasure
That I will not lose again.
The old old chair so worn, so old,
No longer with life’s dregs,
But loved and gently cosseted ,
With its three remaining legs.
I finger its enamel back
Which rustily displays
‘Watson’s great Matchless Cleanser,
Soap for all purposes.’
‘Tell me your tales,’ I whisper
To my friend of yesterday,
‘Tell me more of your anecdotes,
And what you have to say.’

(Based on truth, except for the last verse - sadly I have not been able to recover our own special chair!)

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/24/12
Sheer brilliance! Amazing and phenomenal entry...wow.

I loved this clever and touching story.

God bless~
Karen Pourbabaee 08/24/12
Brimmimg with nostalgia, originality and so well written...really enjoyed your outstanding piece!
Danielle King 08/26/12
Absolutely superb, unique and definitely a winner. I love the clever title too. Brilliant job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/26/12
This brought tears to my eyes. So many stories this week are reminding me of my Mom who died 19 years ago Friday. I can hear her voice reciting your beautiful poem and my heart aches with the knowledge that many of the antiques she refinished with love have been forgotten. You gave me a glimpse into your family's history and a hug from mine. Thank you for that. Blessings and Hugs, Shann
Charla Diehl 08/30/12
This was delightful and filled with glimpses of a simpler time. I think in most small towns the flavor of years ago can still be captured. Loved the poem and the MC's POV.
Danielle King 08/30/12
Congratulations Margaret. I thought this brilliant poem would do well.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/30/12
Congratulations on a well-deserved EC. I love narrative poetry, and you write it with excellence!
C D Swanson 08/31/12
Congrats...God bless