"And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."


Life’s like the springing step of the youth.
Life’s like an aching rotten tooth.
Life smoulders on for years
Like wet grass dampened by fire,
Until suddenly love kicks it bright
To flare and dance with hot delight
To life’s conflagration of desire.


Of course it’s easy to say “I love you”.
A cliché turned on the lathe of my tongue
As in any other word factory.
Common as dandruff on sloping shoulders,
Grey as yesterday’s screwed up newspaper,
Tasteless as bread without any butter.
I love you, I love you, I love you, is passion
As second-hand as news on the Telly.
Then what can I say to my woman
For her to know, first hand, my feelings?
Only can I say, you fulfil me,
Raise me, breathe on my fossil to give me
Life, pleasure and pain to make me known
Famous to myself in the praises of my blood.
You’re the author of the song of myself
That I sing above the roar of the city
And the daily inconsequence of actions.
So I climb the mountain of my self esteem
Singing to call my Ishmael from the desert.
And yet such high flown words only stretch
The same old love sprung language
To where it loses recoil and goes limp.
Then what can I say to you, my dear,
More that another million lovers?
I’ll say the same old love worn cliché,
“I love you”, imitative as each year’s spring,
But new and unsullied as though there were never
Spring before in the sequence of seasons.

(for Mark)

Now, for the first time, I wish
I had been less dreamer, and had worked
Ambitiously for all I could have grasped
Of riches and position, to outlast
Whatever demands your pleasure makes.
What more could any father give
Than the greatest subsidy for leisure?
And I can give you none.
I know you love me;
Your love is not in doubt.
But I would feel much worthier if I
Had striven to give you something other
Than a paper strongbox that contains
The small nest-egg of stars I’ve savaged
From the dark, howling eternity of my heart.