The evening before

 

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.

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