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Dreaming of Waiting

I was watching the hoops of harbour water pat the quayside
like the pressing of tiny palms.

And over the harbour's arc all the boats pushed to the damp walls
like a crowd eager for one arrival.

I placed my hands in the salt-bleached baskets and their swarming cargoes of silver.

There was a woman waiting in borrowed blankets, holding out a pack of lighters
which were all aflame like a menorah.

She led me to a square of short grass and the shadows of poplars
where I found small pieces of torn paper, finger-smudged glasses,

and the imprint on the grass where four had lain and eaten.
I found their broken crusts and laughter fallen about me like leaves.

And the square filled with a host of people like a great shoal
straining hard at the net. Then a woman appeared on a plinth like a prow.

She was reciting something that sounded like love.

And I saw the four people leave for the paths and I followed them to a low house that was lit inside like a lantern. They opened some wine there and drank it like lovers, and I stood and waited beside the gate.


Cliff Ashcroft


Peninsula Poets

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