Wednesday, 22 September 2010

poetry wednesday

When summer began I laboriously filed away all study notes, all the instructions and quotations and ideas I had absent-mindedly scrawled on torn and travelled paper. Yet for some reason I left a stack of seminar notes beside my bookshelf and in them, a poem I remember liking. Today as I went to shuffle them away, in a final fresh-start sort of way, I realised that it is not the poem I remember. I cannot spy the metaphor I once admired or hear the voice that once echoed, resoundingly, in my heart. Maybe it is a different poem altogether and maybe that one, the one I remember idolising, is somewhere else; under another stack, perhaps.

Yet in this one there still is something. And so I share it with you.

When his beloved died
he decided to grow old
and shut himself inside
the empty house, alone
with his memories of her
and the big sunny mirror
where she'd fixed her hair.
This great block of gold
he hoarded like a miser
thinking here, at least,
he'd lock away the past,
keep one thing intact.

But around the first anniversary,
he began to wonder, to his horror,
about her eyes: were they brown or black
or grey? Green? I can't say...

One Spring morning, something gave in him;
shouldering his twin grief like a cross,
he shut the front door, turned into the street
and had walked just ten yards, when, from a dark close,
he caught a flash of eyes. He lowered his hat-brim
and walked on... yes, they were like that; like that.

Don Paterson, "The Eyes".

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