Observatory Street, Oxford
Observatory Street

Observatory Street, Oxford - 1.

Waiting here while
Watching Observatory Street
I scan the daily paper
For future news
Of your continued absence.
And, when ordering you
Another morning coffee
I nervously rewind the beauty
Of your final apology,
My inadequate response,
The slam of the door,
A litter of unwritten letters,
The suffocating silence.

Your waiting coffee
Is cold once more,
And, as I order yet another,
Is that you I can see
Hurrying away from
Observatory Street?
Observatory Street, Oxford - 2

Sitting each day
In the centre of things
Here on Observatory Street,
Avoiding all conversation
While scanning the news of others,
I fill in that time
Once spent with you
In this “continental” bar of ours
Interpreting the language of lovers.
The incline of heads,
Their nervous smiles,
The gestures of hands,
A speaking in tongues
I can barely remember;
A music of sorts.

Are you still  sharing your
Practice of such grammar in a
Darkened bedroom somewhere
Nearby Observatory Street?
Observatory Street, Oxford -  3 

Filling my day reading
Here on Observatory Street
I remember you once saying
That you were born to
Travel between relationships,
Restless in your ways;
Moving to any decent port
From many a fierce storm,
Regardless of island or continent,
Slipping between cooling white sheets
In the Caribbean or southern Spain,
California or the far, Far East,
Always prepared for the next
Steamy voyage around the stars.

Did  I also hear you say
That you would be
Coming back this way soon;
Here, to Observatory Street?

Observatory Street, Oxford  -  4

Having returned to Observatory Street,
Washed up in its tidal ebb and flow,
I spend my day recreating you,
Sketching you stepping back,
Back through that open door
As if you had never left;
The long flow of your hair,
The nervousness of your hands,
The many questions asked
While you slowly undressed for me,
Talking on through the night.

But, the completed picture
Is never quite right
With lines too hastily drawn
And nothing in its usual place;
Your face now the shape of someone since,
The unanswered questions half remembered
And the night too dark too see.

You once declared my art a weakness,
My poor memory an injustice…
Or, was it said the other way round?

Graham Hennin

If you have any comments on this poem, Graham Hennin would be pleased to hear from you.