Meet me and I shall know you, light and shadow
A formless, fantastic distillation,
Confection of smoke and fogs and gaslight.
Meet me and I’ll watch you as you wander
Dreamily up pea-souped side streets,
Long neck hidden by black buttoned collar,
Your exhaled breath a ghostly miasma,
Drifting past the clanking city tram-cars,
The news boy who teases you, calling out your name.
Meet me on Fargate, waiting at Cole’s corner,
Top hat and tailed, tapping with my cane,
Yours for all eternity my darling,
Yours beyond the final cutting edge of time.
Late for your theatre tea, warm hands wrapped in velvet,
Hat pulled down over your pert, pink ears,
Your diary shows me all your sweet conceits,
And makes me long to hold you- snug as the grave.
This poem was inspired by watching an astonishingly clear clip of an Edwardian street scene in Sheffield, from a contemporary Mitchell and Butler film. The diary is an imagined artefact. The poem, which was first published in the excellent magazine, ‘Other Poetry’, shares a double page with a poem by the great Maya Angelou, in a recently published anthology, ‘Heartshoots’