O Taste and See

Because of a kiss on the forehead
in the long Night’s infirmary,
through the red wine let light shine deep.

Because of the thirtysix just men
that so stealthily roam this earth
raise high the glass and do not weep.

Who says the world is not a wedding?
Couples, in their oases, lullabye.
Let glass be full before they sleep.

Toast all that which seems to vanish
like a rainbow stared at, those bright
truant things that will not keep;

and ignorance of the last night
of our lives, its famished breathing.
Then, in the red wine, taste the light.

from New and Collected Poems (Hutchinson, 2003), copyright © Dannie Abse 2003, used by permission of the author

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