Two Poems

A Love Letter from Larkin

 

 

Dearest, while waiting for my cheese to melt

I think of you and listen to Bechet.

We seem to be less close. It’s all my fault.

 

The crocuses, your nice blue frock… I felt,

as you write, dear, we had a lovely day.

Recalling you, your marvellous legs, I melt.

 

I wonder is it true that ‘if the salt…?’

England fought back well by the close of play–

were you listening? That run-out!   Compton’s fault.

 

Those swine have turned their wireless up. I’d bolt,

but where to?   Maeve’s at the library,

I can’t go there. This blasted cheese won’t melt.

 

I’m just a clumsy oaf, a cowardly dolt

who would be helpless if you went away,

yet seem to feel less close. It’s all my fault.

 

Yes, I did like your red suspender belt.

I’m sorry you’re so down. What can I say?

How can I make things easier? Ah, the melt!

Do you feel we’re less close? It’s all my fault.

 

 

 

Chemotherapy

 

 

She surprised me

over her fragile meal, picked over,

when she said, ‘Don’t tell me if Murray won or lost

I want to watch it.’

 

She’s never been interested

in any sport, apart from ice skating.

But she explained

she could watch tennis on her laptop in bed,

and it didn’t matter if she drowsed

in and out,

because it just went back and forth

indeterminately until

seemingly by chance

with one stroke

someone won

or lost.

 

 

Although he is now renowned as a novelist, biographer and translator as well as a poet, D. M. Thomas wrote and published little else but poetry until he was forty, and has said that poetry has always been his ‘first love’. He has produced an impressive fifteen poetry collections, beginning with Two Voices in 1968, with his most recent being Mrs English and Other Women (2014). In addition he has published thirteen novels, of which the third, the highly acclaimed, Booker-shortlisted The White Hotel (1981), has been translated into over 30 languages. Thomas’s own translations of Russian poets including Pushkin and Akhmatova are themselves highly regarded, and his biography of Alexander Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Orwell Prize for political writing in 1999. He has also written a stage play, Hell Fire Corner (2004).

 

 

Issue #67 February 2017
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