Carol Ann Duffy

1955 / Glasgow / Scotland

The Love Poem

Till love exhausts itself, longs
for the sleep of words -
my mistress' eyes -
to lie on a white sheet, at rest
in the language -
let me count the ways -
or shrink to a phrase like an epitaph -
come live
with me -
or fall from its own high cloud as syllables
in a pool of verse -
one hour with thee.

Till love gives in and speaks
in the whisper of art -
dear heart,
how like you this? -
love's lips pursed to quotation marks
kissing a line -
look in thy heart
and write -
love's light fading, darkening,
black as ink on a page -
there is a garden
in her face.

Till love is all in the mind -
O my America!
my new-found land -
or all in the pen
in the writer's hand -
behold, thou art fair -
not there, except in a poem,
known by heart like a prayer,
both near and far,
near and far -
the desire of the moth
for the star.
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