Charles Fisher

1914 - 2006 / Swansea

Gilberte

Houses near the Etoile. How delicately Proust
Imagines them, clearer than any dream or watercolour
By Seine or Seurat; see, these shutters move
And change perspective as I pass them, reading.

Late on a winter afternoon, people are walking
(Close the book, now) beneath the wet, city trees.
Elegant callers, hurrying between showers
Say to themselves Proust chooses the awkward days
Careless that they and their tall houses are shadows,
cast by a reading lamp possessed by one
Whose love went all to pieces - memories
Of the wide city made by his real pen.

Curtians of cyprus and chrysanthemum
Drift from St. Innocent across the park
To the cool house of Swann, the intricate loom
Of ghosts who dine to music, fear the trees
Where Gilberte plays, the arch arranger of flowers.

All Paris had room in the half-lit edge of his brain
That could not make, for too much trying, one feature
Of a child's face. O exquisite failure, when
Shall we see its equal done with so sweet a pain
Or envy another boy his intimate steps,
His loitering with a shade in the November rain?
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