After a Candlelit Reading of “The Dead”
“He gave the words the right amount of steel”—
then you speak aloud the last words of “The Dead”
as we walk along the south bank of the Thames.
St Paul’s looks real. Your arm through mine feels real.
But I’m not convinced. It’s almost Christmas. Dark
and silent, the river cold below its skin,
and the lights are Christmas lights, and I hear again
snow again…silver and dark…on every part…
You are a lover. Lovers are hardened by love,
lovers are buoyed by, lovers are weakened by love.
Let’s hear them again, those words. It’s late, and the Thames
shivers with light. Angels row on the Thames,
but steel in the lonely churchyard and crooked crosses
is not steel enough to ferry away our losses.
Cally Conan-Davies’s poems have appeared in Poetry, The Hudson Review, Hopkins Review, Virginia Quarlerly Review, Southwest Review, Harvard Review, Sewanee Review, and other journals in the US, the UK, and Australia. Cally lives in Newport, Oregon.
This poem is not previously published.