Breakfast with the Duchess

The cook like a crooked ship high sailed in a costume of stains
coughs over breakfast and hangs on the rail
high windows behind him give him his stage
the guests his audience with hot empty plates
move down the rail like sheep at a gate

After nine in jumpers and jeans
wet hair shower fresh
not running to meetings taxis or trains
or back to the office after a night in stiff laundered sheets
comes Janet from accounts and Mr.X from Leeds

Today the hotel must be discreet
for it’s January outside
and cold grey the days
mean the cheapest of breaks
and those who come to stay
either go swiftly or start the day late

waitresses like nurses fuss tables in white
without looking ask
“Are you alright?”
and usher along as it is almost ten
and coming in soon will be managers in conference
and marketing men

The Hotel in cracked shoes like an old wedding cake
and brown faded lace
slow dances to the seasons at an elderly pace
dreaming of a time when its chandeliered halls
were host to the upper-crust at gentrified balls

But in old age she’s confused with noisy kids, coach trips
and Special Events
whilst in room 539 an elderly gent
in calcified tweeds
remembers a time
when ladies and gentlemen got up to the nines
in taffetta, gold cufflinks and black tie
would dance till dawn

Whilst beyond the frozen lawn
angels stared back with a stoney grey yawn
as coaches with horses and servants in gloves
esconsed the late revellers
in coaches drawn up

With black laquered wheels
and geldings to match
then through the clipped colonade
and out through the gates
to trip tap the cobbles
“My dear, is it really that late?”

“Is it really that late?”

But no longer
for marooned in her time
the Hotel in less gracious days
wrinkled and tired
stays open in Receivership
that won’t let her die

Breakfast with the Duchess

John Sunderland

New York, United States

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 4

Artist's Description

An old hotel I used to frequent


musing hotel

Artwork Comments

  • aaronschwartz
  • sandraellen
  • John Sunderland
  • sandraellen
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