The Dying of a Long Lost Lover
Your mother slept with me – I daresay you regard that
As peculiar, I daresay she is old (and so am I,
But I’m less your affair). Think. She was young.
Imagine her. I see still her long fingers round her belt.
Which is her myth, her past, or her reality?
Young, did not foretell this old I do not know.
I know she is the hand which stroked both me and you:
various the occasions, and the kinds, of love she felt.
You touch that vehicle of extinct heat. But love
that she loved, and was the call of love. With some
distaste you soon may close her eyes: love
that I see her young long fingers at her belt.
Geoffrey Grigson as poet and critic was distinguished by a tart independence of mind; this poem, perhaps my favourite among his work, shows that he also had a capacity for tenderness.