Hannah Lowe

Hannah Lowe



The Empire

And when I came back from Felbrigg Hall
it wasn’t the Chinese wallpaper I thought about
though it was sad and beautiful
with its ducks and egrets and magnolia;
not the sweary taxi driver, nor the curator
who didn’t seem to know why I was there.
It wasn’t the extra pair of socks I bought
in Asda, to fend off the brutal weathe
or the social worker who phoned
to talk about my mother
as the car wound the long road from Cromer: no,

it was the two strange figurines
hung high up on the master bedroom wall
with their laughing shiny faces
and clownish clothes –
they were earthquake detectors
from China, circa 1860
and even then, it was really my grandfather
I thought of, stepping off a boat from China
to Kingston docks, and my father
stepping off a boat to post-war Liverpool
in his papery suit and gleaming brogues.





HANNAH LOWE is a writer based in London. Her first poetry collection Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013) won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award. These poems are taken from her third collection, The Kids, due with Bloodaxe in 2021. twitter: @hannahlowepoet. web:hannahlowe.me