Wednesday, 14 February 2007

A poem for Valentine's Day

Visitors' Book

Up to Haworth for the early spring –
As was our brief custom – to see
The snowdrops pester out the winter grief
Of the Parsonage and retrace songlines
In the slab bleak churchyard. A half-starved
Plath, you’d drawn all this in, drinking
Greedily an unworded recognition,
With the thirst of the thwarted, the held-back
And terraced; like the time in El Prado
When I found you weeping before Goya
Unable to say why. I pay my fiver
And go inside. A circus family, really,
In their freakishness; with their tiny
Feet and tiny books. A puff of wind
Could blow them down permanently
And did. You said you felt at home
Here, though you couldn’t say how.
On a table in the hallway, I see it now
And cannot resist the urge of recollection,
Leafing back through the neutral years
Until, sure enough, there they are
Witnessed by a motley decade
Of subsequent strangers: our signatures
In the Visitors Book. The giddy roll
Of my stomach at seeing your hand
Once more, the blinking out of reason
Then the slow, haunted smile to a spring-melt
Of memory. ‘MM’ and ‘MM’: the rapid
Pulse of a small creature short of breath.
You told me on the night of our first
Coupling that I’d be pushed away and
You were as good as your word. But
Before the madness and separation,
Before the Wide Sargasso Sea of your
Dark history opened up between us
An unbridgeable gap, we strode the wild moors
As right and wrong as any lovers.
Later, in the guesthouse, the landlord
Leads me to the same Room 7,
The chipper undertaker of blind ironies.
Our ghosts, aroused, turn to greet me:
A naked threesome splayed and open,
Lashed to the bed of unlinear time
In the room where you were last joyful,
In the space where last we were beautiful.

Martin Malone

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This poem by Martin Malone is brilliant and conjures up exactly the spirit of the Parsonage and Haworth.