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Sport 41: 2013

Lynn Davidson — Desire - a tragic ballad for two voices

page 20

Lynn Davidson

Desire - a tragic ballad for two voices


It’s like a film, the way it starts
with you and me at last alone
until into our pretty nest
your wife’s shrilling down the phone.

The way light changed from gold to blue
and how you sat and how I flew
from bed to door and back to you
until you laid me down and said

to hell with her my lovely one
to hell with us, with me to hell
(hell’s what a woman’s cunt was called
in Shakespeare’s day when things were called).

Stem to stem on earthy bed
we each unto the other said
(unto now there’s another word—
from Shakespeare’s? Chaucer’s? Anon’s head?)

unto unto fiord and cliff
albatross, gannet, gulls in throngs
our own cast out and jutting lands
our own rhyming and tragic songs.

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Hold on, you’ve gone from nest to bloom
that can’t be good—you’re changing hosts—
airy beds or earthy quilts?
And birds and nests cannot be coasts.

The stage you play our love out on
is muddled, crossed—I’ve lost the gist
nail plank to plank for acting out
stage by stage our lovers’ tryst—

be audience to your own sad plight
see where the plot lines creak and shift
tell it straight and tell it right
right-telling gives the story lift—

decide, for God’s sake, when and where,
for how to make this tribute to
gentle love and brutal life
if time and place are in dispute?


I want the gulls, I want the coast
I want the gold and also blue
I want the nest I want the phone
I want the film I want the cue.

I want the memory of you.