What kind of love is this when she
lifts down the urn from its high place
and takes the top off gingerly
as if about to see his face
and then rolls down her stockings as
she did that first night they were wed
while he lay back there, bold as brass,
a bronzed young god upon the bed?
What sort of memory is kept
alive as both the taps are turned?
That marriage day they never slept
but like two endless fuses burned.
She steps into the swirling heat,
uncertain whether she should stoop
or kneel. She looks down at her feet
and tips the ashes in. The soup
that greyly laps her limbs is him,
the only man she ever craved,
the only one to keep her warm,
with whom alone she misbehaved.
from Academe (Seren 1988), © Paul Groves 1988, used by permission of the author