One he was a bell boy at the Grand Hotel.
O, the stories, the stories, he could tell.
Now he sat in its foyer, an old man in a brown coat.
More than eighty, nearly ninety,
he would say of his age, to precisely quote,
more plainly, eighty seven,
far from the cradle, close now to heaven.
That is, he would say,
if the angel with the book at the gate
would let him in.
O, but the stories. Where would he begin?
Taxies, cars, parked outside, he observed,
may be more modern than in his day,
but they transported the same people,
they being the rich. Such things would stay.
“I used to work here,” he would tell them,
in the dining hall, as he supped afternoon tea,
with the silver tea pot on his table,
feeling happy to be.
“That must have been a long time ago,”
they would say.
“Oh, yes, it was,” he would answer.
“But it is all clear, as if it were yesterday.
There I would stand, at the foot of the stair,
by the lift, at reception, smile on my face,
and I watched them go by,
like lights in the air,
all of them noble to me, fine and high.
There was one famous actress,
yes, some of them were involved in the arts,
others were gentry from foreign parts.
Rich business men, some of them were.
Can still see their faces.
I wept when it was over, my time I was here.
There was no one to tell it to, no one to care.
Stories I could tell.
Always thought it deserved its name, Grand Hotel.”