All Right by R. S. Thomas

I look. You look

Away. No colour,

No ruffling of the brow’s

Surface betrays

Your feeling. As though I

Were not here; as

Though you were your own

Mirror, you arrange yourself

For the play. My eyes’

Adjectives; the way that

I scan you; the

Conjunction the flesh

Needs – all these

Are as nothing

To you. Serene, cool,

Motionless, no statue

Could show less

The impression of

My regard. Madam, I

Grant the artistry

Of your part. Let us

Consider it, then,

A finished performance.


by R. S. Thomas

from H’m (1972)


‘Blows The Swan Wind…’ by Anna Akhmatova

Blows the swan wind,

The blue sky’s smeared

With blood; the anniversary

Of your love’s first days draws near.


You have destroyed

My sorcery; like water the years

Have drifted by. Why

Aren’t you old, but as you were?


Your tender voice even more ringing…

Only your serene brow

Has taken from time’s wing

A scattering of snow.


– by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova) (1922)

– from Anno Domini MCMXXI translation by D. M. Thomas