Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Tuppence, Hap'ney, Thrup'ney Bit

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Tuppence, Hap'ney, Thrup'ney Bit

Article excerpt

How much I miss the old coins of the realm.

The wide coppers in a boy's palm, doubly large

for that tiny holding. The brassy octagonal thrup'neys-

how I miss their broad, heavy happiness. Even if

the Monarchy is spent and my time is slotted

to the past. Even if the Monarchy has fallen to the petty

change of scandal and I have grown beyond the size

of wide-eyed money. I felt a part of that sovereignty.

When I was taken to another country, my monetary system

became a foreign language and the shillings-my friends-

became history. Now, there were dimes the size

of a fingernail, too shiny to be believed, to have use,

too bright to give me passage in this living place.

I took solace in hauling out my collection and cleaning

the dark mint, transforming them back into

bright, orange suns-coppered, vital, radiant.

My prize-an 1899 Queen Victoria penny: a fat lady from

a faraway kingdom. …

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