MM (1969 / Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England)

Devotion

If I could win you with words
I would write, “Come and lie naked with me.
Oh, come and lie naked with me.”

And you would give yourself
without hesitation in the lacerated city
of my nearly ruined dreams.

Alas, we do not live by the rules
of happy circumstance. The real story,
sad though it is, unfolds like this:

if I told you in the encroaching darkness
how much the night derides me,
you would only turn your back

and keep the moonlight for yourself.
If I told you that I held my hand
in the flame for you, I know

you would not believe me.
If I told you that I cut myself
in the dark cellars of self-knowing

for all the saints and martyrs
but most of all, for you,
I know you would only shrink back

and think me mad. If I told you
that I had stolen these seconds
from the silence that lies between us

to tell you, you are more beautiful
today than I ever imagined,
you would only recoil and say,

“You cannot win me with words.”

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