Love Remembered

A fleeting thought of you is as a slight
to time and space that turn will into might,
for love remembered is a love too long
in exile from the warmth of the night.

No photograph from dappled glade or beach
serves but to show me you are out of reach,
forgotten. Pictures fade but do not age;
patient, they lie in wait, some day to teach.

And she is lonely, or, maybe, am I
the lonelier? We wonder and we lie
as lovers do, though tenderness belong
elsewhere, we understand, and occupy

an afternoon, a hired room, a thought
of all the might-have-beens that we have brought
to every reawakening on the stage
where, for a while, we are who we are not.

Or whom we have become. The world is more
deceiving than the loss of reason or
of memory. And now I know you as
a mother's voice of caution: when before,

with quiet common sense you persevered,
your life a verse I secretly revered,
a poem I crammed away, in innocence
of mine to come, the very life you feared

even to name, however hard you tried.
And so you left some of your verses void
of meaning, empty word chains in a class
of pure enigma. Surely you enjoyed

believing that one day your words would flower?
But you would overstretch the staying power
of carefree boys. The lines are gone. The sense,
no challenge to the pleasures of the hour,

must take its chance among competing schemes.
Even the rhythm, unrepeated, seems
no longer bound to rote, is free to fly
by whimsy where it will in thoughts or dreams.

This is my continuity, a thing
to marvel at, forever rallying
to change, return again, and to surprise
with pertinence, my aimless wandering.

You find me when I seek you in the sound
of laughter. You are music to confound
my equanimity with sudden joy,
joy that was lost, with you, till we were found.

For promises grow out of circumstance
and in their wake come usage and mischance
and slow regret, born as I realise
I have become emburdened in the dance

and cannot carry all that I have known
around my neck forever, like a stone.
Our youth, our love, are photographs of snow
briefly to be enjoyed, then left alone.

I have been asleep, or else deceived
and now I see the past that I believed
frozen forever, melted long ago -
an absence to be cherished, never grieved.

-o-

For love remembered is a love too long
forgotten. Pictures fade but do not age
as lovers do, though tenderness belong
to every reawakening on the stage
of memory. And now I know you as
a poem I crammed away, in innocence
of meaning, empty word chains in a class
of carefree boys. The lines are gone. The sense,
no longer bound to rote, is free to fly,
to change, return again, and to surprise
my equanimity with sudden joy.
And slow regret, born as I realise
our youth, our love, are photographs of snow -
frozen forever, melted long ago.

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