Jessica Learned to Kiss


Jessica learned to kiss,
Yet never would
Kiss me. This

Witholding of a kiss
Seemed to be
Part of her glee
At parting.

Or was she
Wise enough to see
That to defer
Made time doubt
Its hold on her
And me?

At all events
Only this week,
Perhaps disenchanted
With philosophic teasing,
A kiss she planted
On my cheek.

from Selected Poems 1955-97 (OUP, 1997), copyright Charles Tomlinson 1997, used by permission of the author and Carcanet Press Ltd.

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