It’s Tuesday morning and women’s voices,

in three-part harmony, sing out Smokey Robinson,

I don’t like you, but I love you – while outside  

in the yard toddlers send up an insistent

decant scat. In the hall an amalgam of creamed

butter, sugar and sifted flour wafts.

Upstairs needles pirouette, like dancers
in Morag Alexander’s class, pulling
silks through linen in back stitch, split stitch,
stem stitch, French knots. On other days,
at other hours, threads of French and German
slip from practiced tongues, and lips are pursed

and shaped to give a visual voice to those
for whom the world has turned its volume
down. It’s here we come when our lives
suffer an infarction, an arrhythmia, a block.
It’s here we come to pick up the rhythms
again, to pick out a beat on practice pad,

to fall safely on a crash mat, to dance again,
to reel. It’s here kinship finds support,
it’s here that kindness and care
are more than abstract, it’s here they are
“doing words”. It’s here, in this centre, this
Old Victorian school, with its boys doors & girls doors,
that a community finds its heart.