Aunt Emily


Aunt Emily, brocade and faded lace,
  cambric and antimacassars,
  observes the onset of winter
  like a mangle waiting for a three-pin plug.

  She dries her tears in the air,
  and thinks of Genghis and Vlad,
  her tabbies. They're all the same,
  monsters, saracens, killers of skylark,
  helminths, she considers.

  She reserves an unhealthy disdain
  for sales, for bargains, and
  for once-only lifetime guarantees
  with nothing to pay until armageddon.

  Once she ducked herself
  from a plastic stool in a park of themes,
  and survived by floating.
  Watchers dubbed her a witch,
  but she claimed it was breaststroke
  learned in infancy
  from a grandma with cast-iron lungs.

  Her special contempt is kept
  for the short coughs of keen marines
  fighting for islands
  with crates of discriminate smoke. And guns.
  And the stumps of their legs
  left lying for all to see.

  Aunt Emily, fond of junket,
  places roses and fern
  on her double-door, walnut TV,
  sits back and sniffs them from a distance,

  and only later removes them
  to place on a pauper's grave
  in the village cemetery.
  "Unknown", it says on the tombstone.
  She spreads herself beside it
  like a picnic.

From the book Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday

Resistance to digital TV is known as "the Aunt Emily factor"