When the world stops, How do we go on? When everything changes, What remains? In the stillness of a halted city, Amid the bombardment of the news, Adrift in enforced solitude, What do we have? Cotton clouds and blue skies. Spring rustling through awakening trees. The chatter of returning birds. The smile of a loved one. The laughter of a child. Music to keep us company as we stare out the window at an empty street. We have what we've always had, Each other.
A whisper at your shoulder,
A cloud in your smile.
A dark companion,
Silent at your side.
How do you unknow
What you know?
How do you not hear
The stealthy stalker at your back?
How do you laugh, sing, love
With this shadow on your mind?
How do you dance with death?
A Cambridge University student, while doing research on the British poet Siegfried Sassoon, has found buried treasure. A poem penned to Sassoon’s boyfriend, Glen Byam Shaw.
Written in 1925, when homosexuality was still a crime in the U.K., perhaps the omission of pronouns is more than a matter of poetic style.
Not a blast from the past, but a sigh…
Though you have left me, I’m not yet alone:
For what you were befriends the firelit room;
And what you said remains & is my own
To make a living gladness of my gloom
The firelight leaps & shows your empty chair
And all our harmonies of speech are stilled:
But you are with me in the voiceless air
My hands are empty, but my heart is filled.
Copyright Siegfried Sassoon by kind permission of the Estate of George Sassoon