February always brings me to love poetry and this is a poem that I hold very dear.
If, at your desk, you push aside your work, Take down a book, turn to this verse, and read that I kneel here, pressing my ear where on your chest the muscles arch as great books part, in seagull curves, bridging the seasounds of your heart,
and that your hands run through my hair, draw the wayward mass to strands as flat as scarlet silk-thread bookmarks, and stroke my cheeks as if smoothing back the tissue leaves from chilly, plated pages, and pull me near
to read my eyes alone, then you shall see, silvered and monochrome, yourself, sitting at your desk, taking down a book, turning to this verse, and then, my love, you shall not know which one of us is reading, now, which is writing, and which written.
(Source: Staying Alive, edited by Neil Astley, 2002: Bloodaxe Books).
Perhaps you’d care to tell me about your favourite love poem/s.
I remember talking to someone years ago about ‘Love’s young dream’ and being caught on the hop with her response, ‘Oh, you mean Love’s old hat …..’ I certainly realised then that Lovehas different guises and I’ve been keeping an eye out for them ever since as well as being rocked all over the place by many of them as I’ve travelled through life.
So, that’s the background to the theme of a Poetry Gathering which I was initiated on my poetry thread on the Linkedin Group: TED ~ Ideas Worth Spreading. The thread has been weaving since September 2011 and I’ve written about it here before:
This Love Gathering ran from midnight on Valentine’s Day to midnight last night.
I wondered was I kinda stretching it by extending it beyond the confines of Valentine’s Day and running it beyond rather than before the day that is so associated with Love.
Well, let me tell you, it was quite an experience with love of all descriptions being raised by people from all round the world through the works of published poets who have been writing about love forever, it seems.
This morning, though, there a sense of being totally buoyed up by the power and passion of the whole thing but also severe withdrawals. So, let me bring you one of the poems that emerged in the course of the few days. It’s by the wonderfully talented Michael Donaghy (1954-2004), who was born into an Irish family in New York and later moved to Britain where he was a key part of the poetry scene and of a number of Irish music groups:
For the present there is just one moon, though every level pond gives back another.
But the bright disc shining in the black lagoon perceived by astrophysicist and lover,
is milliseconds old. And even that light’s seven minutes older than its source.
And the stars we think we see on moonless nights are long extinguished. And, of course,
this very moment, as you read this line, is literally gone before you know it.
Forget the here-and-now. We have no time but this device of wantonness and wit.
Make me this present then: your hand in mine, and we’ll live out our lives in it.