Today's poem is by Alan Brownjohn

All Best

I go with the grain of foreign courtesies
By writing, to somebody met only twice,
I remain, your impassioned eternal lover
Or My soul is yours each minute of day and night.
Inevitably, a laughing answer comes:
`No, no! It is all wrong. I tell you, please,
The words we are using here, and you will find
The nearest words in English to say it right.'

So for months all my letters begin and end
With ever more misjudged felicities,
Still striving to please correspondents for whom
I love you until death is no stronger than
Good morning, and for whom not to say,
In concluding the simplest thank-you letter,
I touch you all over, always, in my thoughts
Is tantamount to insult. It does not work.

I watch the leaves turn colour, at different speeds,
And start another letter wondering
Should I go back to intriguing understatement?
The kind I used once, coaxing long threads of hair
From between a pillow and the incomparable
Shoulders which trapped them, so as to release
A head and lips for a more than thank-you kiss
— When I only had strength enough for kind regards?

Copyright © 2012 Alan Brownjohn All rights reserved
from The Saner Places: Selected Poems
Enitharmon Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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