“How long ago is it”

How long ago is it that I, like Taliesin,
Having suddenly (it seems) first heard your voice,
Laid upon my bed one night, weeping out in vain:
“I will not fall in love with her!”
For in but one night’s space my heart
Had tasted free flight, gull-like, on a warm spring wind
Though it was dark December, and then
The dreary melancholy of the newly lovesick.

While in the intervening months, then years,
First normalcy, then absence, laid at last
The flame of blossoming love to sleep within my breast,
And my heart learned to live and even love again,
Although reduced by one small part that you still hold:
I learned to bear the anguish of each meeting
Even as time lessened it, endure the longing thrill
When I would hear your laughing voice raised high
And ringing through the air like bells, but
Soon grew used to, then forgot the thing
That had endeared you to me first,
The special power your music still has over me.

But then today again I heard you singing
And saw the Spirit’s fire reflected in your face,
And all my heart’s defenses fell again before you,
All its makeshift bandages were swept away,
Reopening the sores where glory via you had burned.
Your voice and visage, like heaven’s scent,
Have caught me up again within your power.

(I wrote this in the last days of January and the first days of February 2008. While I submitted it to Dialogue that very month, it’s still so moving to me even now that I’m not sure I really want to post it. But since I am posting it here, I’m also posting it on my wiki. Feedback of any kind, including criticism, compliments, questions, suggestions (especially for a real title or what to post next), or anything else, is eagerly requested and greatly appreciated.)


5 thoughts on ““How long ago is it”

    • Thank you, Maria.

      While reading this over again a bit more carefully now reveals a few places where the meter (not that it’s intended to be consistently regular) stumbles enough to make me wince, my two main worries are (as ever) that I’m either too patent or too obscure—the latter in that I begin with an allusion to a character in my own (Arthurian) poetry in a scene that never made it into a poem in that series …

    • My worries about this poem are probably just worries. If I decide to put it in a collection, I’ll want to go over it carefully to strengthen the rhythm of it, but I think that’s all that’s needed. Whether I want to (somehow) improve it more than that is another question entirely, since it’s a rare poem indeed that I am entirely satisfied with.

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