Poem for World Poetry Day


The floor is azure blue tile
slick with the residue
of that morning’s watering,
green hose resting
slack between the leaves.

We would come here, safe,
afternoons, and sit, not touching,
humidity in the 90s
and helicopters hovering
a block beyond the Hill.

Though you are here no longer
I reach out to touch your arm,
trace the sweat, the way it beads
around the curve of your skin

From the display of medicinal
herbs, I break small leaves
into the palm of my hand:
yarrow, for internal bleeding,
foxglove for the muscles of the heart.

And when we meet, a year
from now, by chance, the
departure lounge at Heathrow,
the platform at Gare du Nord,
that harbour front café, and,
uncertain whether or not to kiss me,
you hold out, instead your hand,
I will slip into it these remedies
I have long carried, in the knowledge
that, nurtured, love flowers in the darkest place.

from ASLANT Poetry / John Harvey – Photography / Molly E. Boiling
(Shoestring Press, 2019)

You can see a selection of Molly’s photographs here …

Author: John Harvey


2 thoughts on “Poem for World Poetry Day”

  1. So right and good for these ‘social distancing’ elbow bump days.

    I hope you can get out to the Heath. Here we walk along the river in evenings.

    all best, stay safe and sane,


  2. For now it’s okay to walk or run on the Heath, as long as you avoid others, and Sarah runs and I walk most every morning, but on sunny days like yesterday, parks and resorts are overflowing with people selfishly/thoughtlessly paying little or no attention to social distancing. Result: some London councils are closing their parks – difficult to manage where the Heath is concerned, too many ways in. Those of us who are vulnerable should be taking special care.

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