From far across the years she sang:
‘And you read your Emily Dickinson
And I my Robert Frost.’
She sang those words so beautifully
in harmonies of blue and gold –
an old long-playing record, now for sale –
in Oxfam: Helen with the charcoal eyes –
who’s friends with all the waifs and strays –
she loves them – as if her family.
Together we look out at the first drops of rain;
Together we watch the umbrellas unfurl –
and then the streets dissolve –
The streets of evening mists.
In the cool aesthetic entrance to
the Art college – a dark-eyed girl
is waiting – in black leather army boots –
and a long black overcoat:
A work of art: ‘The girl in the long black coat’ –
an outsider, a creature from the underworld.
I gaze at her … and then:
Is that a glare – a deep-black glare – at me?
I was thinking of painting her portrait –
but dared not ask! So now, I’m wondering:
How many portraits are lost through fear?
Alone, I look outside: the sky is sharp and clear –
A bright blue moon is rising.
These lines were written a few days after watching the film, ‘Wild’ on the television.
The soundtrack to the film certainly helped me with the words.
The old long-playing record is ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme‘ and the poets Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost appear in the beautiful song, ‘The Dangling Conversation‘.