Her face is featureless with stroke;
Her hair no longer an unruly mess of chestnut curls
Lies white and flat against her blue-veined skull;
Her puckered lips no cherries; her skin no peach's bloom.
She is a last sere leaf on a winter twig
Waiting for a friendly puff of wind to fall.
The garden hedges, once so manicured and trimmed,
Are now a riotous overgrowth of berried shrubs:
Bramble, sweet briar and bryony,
Hawthorn and sloe, honeysuckle and guelder-rose.
His face is gaunt and stubbled, sickly grey.
Clocks tick in a mausoleum of ornaments.
He teases his wife with delusions of recovery,
Chasing him around the bed in petticoats.
Through the kitchen window a rare sight:
Taking advantage of the unkempt wilderness,
Two roe deer and a fox chase each other
Around the flower beds, the fox ever hopeful,
The plump-rumped roe simply out to tease.