Queen Canute

Posted: December 19, 2010 in Queen Canute
Tags: , ,

Picture found on deviantart.com

Burn it. I’ll still remember
The grey, the orange, and the red
Of that morning in September;
The expression she held when I said,
“Don’t move, it’s perfect,” still,
And somehow sad, with her head
Framed by hair that will
Lose to winter its auburn tincture.
We’d met years before, and talked until
She’d had to leave for some important fixture;
Before she went, she scribbled down a note,
And, bending, let me smell the mixture
Of fear and perfume as she put it in my coat.
From notes we moved to calls, and then
From calls to photographs: her in a boat
With seagulls turning and screeching when
I told her she was perfect, to freeze;
Again, in a library, with a pen
Between her fingers and a breeze
Moving dust through the sunbeams,
Past eyes held wide to please
The camera, the tension better than the creams
At masking wrinkles.

She should marry,
I said, that king who screams
At the ocean. She stopped, and turned
To look at me, the grass behind her swaying,
And ended it, there on the moor, saying,
“Not I but you.” She left. I burned.

James Harriman-Smith


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