The Tender Muse

Words, Wide Night
Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine the
dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you

and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.
By Carol Ann Duffy

Today I remembered an afternoon from years ago on which a friend and I spent a few hours in the library of the arts college adjoining our engineering college. We had a good time giggling over the cookbooks one of which described several ways of preparing the humble Mysorepak, and afterwards we read and wept gently as only silly, sentimental nineteen year olds can do over a book of poems titled The Tender Muse, a collection of verse by Russian poetesses.

It was over ten years ago and strangely, I am unable to recollect the friend’s face, or her name. But I clearly remember the lines of verse that we read together, and how they evoked the same feeling that I had when I read this poem by Carol Ann Duffy today.

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