Friday, November 09, 2007

Don Paterson: 2 poems


after Cavafy

Those houses, cafes, bars ... the old purlieus
I've haunted, year after year -

I conjured you when I was happy, when I was sad:
you were my detail, my inner circumstance.

I have turned you into pure notion.

* * *


But what lovers we were, what lover,
Even when it was all over -

the deadweight bull-black wines we swung
towards each other rang and rang

like bells of blood, our own great hearts.
We slung the drunk boat out of port

and watched our unreal sober life
unmoor, a continent of grief;

The candlelight strange on our faces
like the silent tiny blazes

And coruscations of its wars.
We blew them out and took the stairs

Into the night for the night's work,
stripped off in the timbered dark,

Gently hooked each other on
like aqualungs, and thundered down

To mine our lovely secret wreck.
We surfaced later, breathless, back

To back, then made our way alone
up the mined beach of the dawn.

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