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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 4, December 2014

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Claire Everett
Northallerton, North Yorkshire, England


But to Each Other Dream

This is the blue hour, when the blackbird drinks its fill of fading stars. I can no longer recall when I first sensed her gentle hand was at the latch. Perhaps, even before I learned the words by which she makes herself known I could hear her morning-step upon the stair?

A breeze parts the curtains, lets slip a chink of light; I must taste the blossoms that unfold. Or else, I wake to the music of her laughter, lift my eyes from a dream to catch a glimpse of her smile through an indoor lattice, all delight. Soft, her tread, closer, until I feel the circle of her arm, the warmth of her cheek, her fingers, still stained with the dawn. She lifts her knee, rests her foot upon the prie-dieu and gathers me into her swoon. Of all her gowns, this is my favourite, with mackerel skies in the hang of the folds and a train that carries the scent of pines. We share the inward fragrance of each other's heart.

where have you been?
not far, not far . . .
I have come, swift
as a hen-bird on the wing
to breast her eggs again

She says she forgot the stars, the moon and sun . . . the blue above the trees. Did I forget them too? They were not the same without her near . . . If I should die . . . if she . . . Let us speak, then, only of now. The cool cascades of her ink-dark hair, the sweetness of her tears. One hundred, one thousand years from now, it will not matter what became of one without the other.

what is my mind
in this pot-of-basil day?
fragrance
my dark-eyed muse
Isabella


Author's Note: The title and all text in italics excerpted from Isabella, or The Pot of Basil by John Keats (1795-1821)

See Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1868) by William Holman Hunt.

First published in Notes from the Gean 4:1, 2012

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