Remedies

Learn the use of unhappiness, recommended
apostolic Proust on his death bed,
 
and no emotion will go to waste.
It is a tempting feast,
 
but I shall not be drawn a second time
to her forcing-house of a room
 
where I showed my hand too soon,
those premature, acid green
 
wrinkled chestnut fingers, unexplained
along her street.  I shall remain
 
at liberty to interpret
the ambiguous spirit
 
of her calling from the blue like this,
which alone is happiness,
 
a prolonged underglass imagining
for the asthmatic in his scentless spring.

from Idols (OUP, 1986), ? Stephen Romer 1986, used by permission of the author and Carcanet Press.

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