Artwork: Louise Bourgeois, Spirals, 2005
The third in a set of poems entitled Lovers’ Quarantine
‘The evening before’ appropriates an anecdotal narrative tone to describe the status of artefact, here the ‘hymn book’, in preserving living memory within a quarantine.
by Fred Baxter
The evening before
we all went indoors
and drowsing through a hymn book
yellowed with age
I found the words ‘I love you’
scrawled in a softly levelled margin,
in a willowy hand.
And now we are on either side
of the quarantine line
I listen for that voice sending
express of spring across the rich earth,
blown up by diffident winds,
flurrying through the silence
with its blustery soprano
to inscribe it once more
in the margins of my heart.