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Camino poems

May 11, 2014

Delay and Communication

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Our group of pilgrims try for a poem a day as we walk; this year Elizabeth Jennings. Delay is one of her best known poems.

Delay

The radiance of the star that leans on me
Was shining years ago. The light that now
Glitters up there my eyes may never see,
And so the time lag teases me with how

Love that loves now may not reach me until
Its first desire is spent. The star’s impulse
Must wait for eyes to claim it beautiful
And love arrived may find us somewhere else.

I think she’s saying much the same as Larkin in The Mower (click here). “… we should be careful/Of each other, we should be kind/While there is still time.”  Or perhaps it’s about the way people talk past each other.

Communication, a less well known poem, is certainly about the latter.

Communication

No use to speak, no good to tell you that
A love is worn away not by the one
Who leaves but by the one who stays and hopes,
Since you would rather have the hoping still
Than be yourself again. What can I say
Who know, better than you, the one who has
Moved on, away, not loving him at all?

And certainly to you I would relinquish
This knowledge held in other ways of feeling
Though dressed up in the properties of passion
Looked at by you. Something is deeply held
By me who never deeply searched at all
And we are not yet wise enough or subtle
To offer anyone a state of mind.

This the particular problem, and I search
A power over our general condition,
Where love is like a landscape we can change
And where desire may be transformed to friendship
If friendship gives the  knowledge,
Where we can see the end and have the power
To take the journey there a different way,
And we can move our minds as we move houses:
Where love is more lucky in the land.

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