Dutch Portraits

To find myself in tears is a surprise –
Paintings don’t often get to me like this:
These faces with their vulnerable eyes
And lips so soft that they invite a kiss;
The long-haired husband, gazing at his bride
With evident desire, his hand around
Her wrist, six years before she died –
Both so alive and so long underground.
And here’s a husband who resembles you
When you were plump and bearded. Its too much.
He looks so happy and his wife does too,
Still smiling, now they can no longer touch.
Someone will read our story, by and by.
Perhaps they’ll feel like this. Perhaps they’ll cry.


from Family Values (Faber, 2011), © Wendy Cope 2011, used by permission of the author and the publisher

Wendy Cope in the Poetry Store

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.

Featured in the archive