Growing Old

I grow old. The photographs
in boxes are years younger than me,
a history told in celluloid.
Here, see, I was 21 and the loving
kiss of your mouth surrendered
me to pleasures, not distant,
not tampered with but real
as the sun or the pallid eye
of the moon as we used to swim
at night, here in Spain, the sea
gentled as the hand of a pleasant god
stroking, pampering, almost loving
at the touch of a finger on flesh
that pleasured, that accomplished.

And at 30, our first born there,
we wandered to Cornwall,
the many coloured fields,
the lay-lines that told of
underground caverns
of water they find
with dousing sticks.
It rained, the search
for water redundant
as we travelled on the heat
of the motorway home.

And now these other photographs,
the last of them all making three,
three fine sons who shone,
my heart given out to them like
nothing I have known before
until 1992 when you met him
then left, wanting to take them away
to a place I would not know,
more distant than the pleasure of a god
or the wild incantation of Macbeth's
witches who knew everything.

I grow older now, the photographs
stopped, divorce begun
as though there were tales to tell,
wandering on beaches before him
not knowing that harmony such as ours
could back down, stabbing the heart where
the love lays, the fallen moon
like shiksa casting no
shadows in the stars
I would not lose my children for,
watching the beauty ofa god or goddess
covering the evening skies with wild
assurances, mentioning the name
of their father, not grown old
as photographs fade but stopped
in a history no one could
calculate, a revision of soul that has me
loving them more than I could say.

John Cornwall