Winternacht

Posted: March 21, 2011 in Winternacht
Tags: , ,

He’d come from many miles away,
And still had many miles to go,
She knew he would not stay.

The theatre crowd had left the show,
And now were looking for their drink,
Beneath a sky that promised snow.

Her dress was new that evening, pink
Like roses, soft and smooth as water;
He could not speak, he could not think.

The men returning home had brought her,
Safe but shaking, eyes stilled shocked,
The mother’s arms swept up her daughter.

It was past one, the doors were locked
And homewards all the young things turned;
Around the bus stop, loud they flocked,
By cold and noise quite unconcerned.
“I like your dress,” he said, a smile
Upon his lips, a smile that she returned;
“I live far out, it’s been a while
Since I have spent an evening here.”
She understood, and thought his style
Of talking strange, and somehow dear.

Footprints remained in the sparkling crust
For hours, yet still could disappear
As crowds from door to door were bussed.

“Remember summer ’95?
A hayloft rich with harvests’ dust?”
She did, and felt just as alive
As every creature when panic rises
And feelings long deceased revive
The memories of innocent surprises.

They found the letter first, a bead
Not far away; the terrible surmises
Drove them on, no time to read.

“Take this,” he said, “too long,
Have I stood alone in the clubbers’ stampede,
Awaiting coincidence, hearing the song
Of the season, cries of drunken girls:
Read it please.” Far from the throng,
They stood, and icicles formed in her curls;
She took the letter, caught the dreams
Of summer, of dewdrops white as pearls.

Policemen combed the street in teams,
And all that week the theatres closed,
The man was not caught by one of their schemes.

She shivered, and knew she was exposed.
He paused and shrugged the coat from his shoulder,
Offered it to her, composed

His cuffs and tie, and a little bolder,
Told her to read it, to understand.
The air around grew colder and colder.

I looked for hours at your left hand
Upon my chest, whilst sunlight fell
Around us. I thought that we’d withstand
It all, and every Christmas tell
Our children about the hay, the sun.
How could you leave me? Say farewell
To it all, for him, a man who’d done
Nothing, but spot you in a crowded room,
Then offer simple, novel, fun?
Coincidence, that I’ll assume
Was his; yet chance at last must bow
To effort, a thousands nights of gloom
Have given me this moment, now
To say that I alone will love you,
To show that I have beaten chance.

She ran, her fingers turning blue,
Whilst every thread of her young mind
Unwound, and, falling, stayed behind.

James Harriman-Smith

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