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Family Party by Nikki Bennett


Settling in for the family celebration,

I’m cosying down with Daddy and Mummy,

Baby centre stage, a miniature version of

ancient Grandfather – slightly in the shadows,

head almost with the angels.

The organ family brightly reflects the audience –

ready for action, ready to begin the party.


Gentle ‘tinkering of the ivories’,

fingers tapping, feet pedalling,

stops moving apparently unaided;

then sudden, powerful, all-embracing sound

booms out to the furthest corners

of the mighty, majestic cathedral,

people’s stomachs and chests resonate.


Within minutes soft intricacies

take over human ears and eyes;

sounds are tiny, resembling a street organ.

The party has begun, the family

members each chattering away,

voices of varying tones, timbres,volumes,

chortling, laughing, joking.


Like all parties, there are dips, lulls,

crescendos, (even missed notes),

but the overall feeling is upbeat,

exciting, celebratory, joyful,

with a just a tad of warring dispute,

as the reminiscences, remembrances

and old childhood memories begin:


Seaside carousels with the hurdy-gurdy,

hornpipes, foghorns, Rule Britannia,

Tony singing Maria in West Side Story.

Talk turns to travel memorabilia,

to Sweden with Abba, Indiana Jones,

Bach’s roll into town in swing-time,

hearty walks through England, Jerusalem.


It draws late, party guests’ and hosts’

thoughts turn to final goodbyes;

but there are still many chattering voices

in the final fond farewells.

Then, stepping outside, drawing breath in the

quietness and warm, light summer air,

the party’s over, families go home to bed.


Nikki Bennett
Poet in Residence – Chester Cathedral