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Collected Poems

Latter-Day Love-Song

Latter-Day Love-Song

I am the miser in the madhouse garden
singing and throwing pennies over the wall,
I am the man who lived with Dolly Varden,
sometime butler to the apostle Paul.
I met you in the crush, we heard the trumpets,
I wooed you through the winter and the spring,
when summer came with tea and buttered crumpets
I shot the bird of love upon the wing.

I remember September, our days on the coast.
Seedsmen's catalogues congested the post.

October was sober, a time of renewal,
the nights still cold, and a shortage of fuel.

I remember November, strange doings at the rectory,
and the issue of a brave new telephone directory.

I remember December. I wrote to my Member
and suggested something I can't quite remember.

I am the miser in the madhouse garden,
your hands were gende, your prognosis bridal,
heads grow soft but hearts will ever harden,
the moon was waning, your affection tidal.
We tried to live like lovers in a novel,
we lunched at three and dined on bread and butter,
after a month in our romantic hovel
your eyes were full of thoughts you could not utter.

Turn to me now, like a reluctant statue
swivelling on its pedestal of granite,
write to me now, for there's no getting at you,
my bicycle can't cross the sea, now can it?
page 124 Here in my pocket-book with chits and papers
and licences to drive and fish and listen
I carry a memento of our capers—
this faded photograph, with eyes that glisten.