This poem explores the relationship between the speaker and her grandmother. It focuses on the remorse and guilt she felt - and perhaps does still feel - about the way she behaved towards her on one occasion, and can be seen as an attempt to exorcise this.
The poem is divided into four parts: the first stanza describes her grandmother working in the shop; the second the incident which causes her guilt; the third stanza shows her in retirement. In the final stanza, after her grandmother has died, the speaker reflects on herself and her grandmother's life.
The first stanza sets the scene - the antique shop reflects the character and life of the grandmother. The words 'it kept her' suggest that it seems, to the speaker, her only reason for living; the grandmother's concern is with surface appearance ('polish was all') not with deep human feelings ('there was no need of love'). Her solitariness is suggested in the fact that it is only 'her own reflection' she sees reflected in the antiques; it is these she lives 'among', not people. The antiques them...
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... after she had passed away now the guilt is
just kicking in and the old women's life has just began to open.
In the very last stanza I think that the very last chapter in the old women's life is beginning to come to an end. Nothing is left in memory of her:
"..and no finger marks were there"
I think that now her life is over and that her family have been excluded, their lives have had a fundamental change and new dust had just began to settle over the rather cold possessions she seemd to value over her children and grandchildren.
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