OR (June 7,1979 / South Africa)


I didn’t need to hear the rain
or watch the lone swallow flying
through it like a lost arrow
to suddenly remember you.
Nor did I need to be reminded,
either by the thin sound
of stars drizzling onto the sea
or a wet bell never rung,
about that shyness of yours
which I loved.
And there is nothing,
not even meeting, on my walk home,
a stranger weeping softly in a tunnel
that could make me forget
the hail-sky taste of your skin in winter.

Through the weeks, the months,
the years that I have passed in sleep
you have remained in the vast fields,
in my mind, standing still there,
wearing the wind, just as I remember you.
So much of you has stayed behind,
lingering in any room I’ve entered
where candles have been left alone to burn,
or anywhere a road becomes suddenly quiet.
I am sure, too, that if I collected the voices
of people picking oranges on a warm evening
I would recall that majestic fall of your breasts,
how they reflected off your eyes like a sweat.

The sky this morning is full of storms,
swarms of clouds perfect for the solitary man.
I belong inside this poem,
I wanted to write it because, even now,
I have to depend on my old verses,
on the stillness of a face seen in a deep crowd,
on the sad whales swimming in your hip bones,
on trying to find and follow self-possessed trains
filled with jasmine roaring past frightened towns,
to keep something, threads of you, still with me.
Even now, even now, even now.

by Oliver Roberts

Other poems of ROBERTS (33)

Comments (1)

Oliver...I wish I had written these wonderful lines: 'where candles have been left alone to burn, or anywhere a road becomes suddenly quiet.' Take care, John