The first stanza begins by saying that Elizabeth’s Grandmother owned an antique shop, which she cherished more than anything or anyone. She kept lots of antiques. She kept so many of them that they became to dictate your life. She has a great relationship and a passion with her possessions. This can be found in Line 1.
‘She kept an antique shop – or it kept her.
Among Apostle spoons and Bristol glass,
The faded silks, the heavy furniture…’
In the antique shop there was heavy furniture, which had been faded over the years. There was a good atmosphere in the shop. She polished the objects and antiques very well. It was a well-run shop. When she looks in the brass she sees her own reflection. She has a better relationship with the shop than any of her family, or friends. This can be found in Line 4.
‘She watched her own reflection in the brass
Slavers and silver bowls, as if to prove
Polish was all, there was no need for love.’
In the second stanza, Elizabeth is describing a particular incident that happened in her childhood. This can be found in Line 7.
‘And I remember how I once refused
To go out with her, since I was afraid.
It was perhaps a wish not to be used
Like antique objects…’
Her Grandmother asked her Granddaughter if she would go out with her but she refused and thought her Grandmother would own her but not love her. She felt abstinent, and felt she should have gone with her, but also had to say what she felt. She did not want to go with her, so she said 'no'. Line 10.
Though she never said
That she was hurt, I still could feel the guilt
Of that refusal, guessing how she felt.’
She was starting to feel guilty about refusing to go out with her Grandmother. Elizabeth did not know what her Grandmother was thinking or feeling when she refused to go out, but she guessed she was not happy. Even though her Grandmother said nothing she still felt guilty about what she had said.
The third stanza is when her Grandmother gets...