Poem: Love poem #1
Here is the first of a tranche of poems I wrote in 1996 for Valerie, who became my wife in 2013.
Love Poem #1
East Head was nothing special, really.
You could only call it grey on a winter’s day
and rather smelly
what with the tide-washed,
slime-sunk sea shrubs
which bristle in that bit behind the dunes
There were all sorts of birds there, mind you,
and some twittered out of hiding in a scattered drove when we passed,
and then hid themselves again a bit further away.
I always imagine a girl in a bikini
is being photographed in the dunes
in the nuddy,
and it’s “Oh Gawd, hurry up won’t you,
“I’ll look blue and that’d never do
“and it’s not even well paid this glamour work”.
And then chips and tea in the cafe
(us, not the girl who wants to be a model in clothes)
and we watched the little geese just a field away.
No binoculars, thank God
(us, not the girl who wants to be a model,
she’s long gone,
“Are those really oyster catchers?”,
we asked the woman behind the urn,
and the flapjack,
because it’s tidier if things have names.
They look like smoke, you said,
when the geese did a flypast for no reason we could see,
especially since they had nowhere to go
and came back where they had started.
You’re no brain surgeon
but you were right enough.
And I once said ascending birds
are like cinders lifted on bonfire smoke.
But I used to say things like that
when I last tried to write poetry,
and knew Wittering then, when it was
populated by polka-dots and beach balls.
And if you had come along then
— come along as you are now
or as you must have been then –
I think I would have felt the same as I do now
and would have written poems.
I’m no astral physicist, but I know that much.