I wish there were a passage underground
That led by magic to your house and bed,
So I could be beside you at a bound
When I had made the journey in my head.
Then I should disappear and not be found,
And neighbours be persuaded I were dead;
But I should be with you in Paradise,
Where I could laugh, and kiss your face and eyes.


If I could conjure shapes for you and me
I’d choose two living things that swim or fly,
Two fishes tumbling in a glassy sea,
Two eagles turning in a golden sky.
nd in those shapes we should continue free
And still in love, until the sea ran dry,
The air failed, and the earth dropped in the sun,
And time was ended, and we two were one.


Love and good luck breathed on the builder’s hand
When he took thought and set the window so,
And set it facing where the bed may stand,
And every day the sun will rise and show.
For when the sun is rising as he planned,
WIth it a gentle wind begins to blow
And darkness and the stars fade out above;
But your two open eyes are stars of love.


Counting the heavy days and heavy hours
I measure out the prison of this town,
And wear out stones with that desire of ours,
But not desire, by walking up and down.
And you are like a city full of towers
Set by a plain or river like a crown;
And you are like a sunset and a star:
But I am here alone, not where you are.


Vanne, foglio gentil

Coming to write my letter, overcast
By all the days of absence that have gone,
I think of others passing as they passed–
So many days of sun that never shone,
Letters and days! And this is not the last,
And I must doubt, to see them stretching on;
And wonder then, why, if it would be strange,
Sooner or later, for our love to change.

And yet I know our luck has won the toss
So many times! and most of all that day
When your first letter came and I chanced to cross
One I had ventured–half afraid to say
What I felt suddenly, in dread of loss;
And then your letter came, and in a way
Said less, but it could only be a sign! . . .
And so it all comes back, to breathe and shine

And so I run it through, how love began:
The light encounter while we hardly thought
And pleasant company without a plan;
But then the wild desire, and we were caught.
How then we were afraid, and blight and ban
Had clawed at us like devils, but we foought
And in the end won sweetness from it all;
And how that would be sweeter to recall.

And surely we will call it up again
One day, and laugh to see it shine and sing–
Know it is not a dream, but true and plain,
And we shall never find a better thing!
Then we shall bless what we have bought with pain,
And close it like the two halves of a ring.
–Therefore my letter promises to go
And say, I wish that I could travel so.




from Collected Poems 1935-1992 (Carcanet, 2012), copyright © The Estate of F T Prince 2012, used by permission of The Estate of F T Prince and Carcanet Press. Recording from Grey Suit # 1, Spring 1993, used by permission of Grey Suit Editions and The Estate of F T Prince.

F T Prince in the Poetry Store

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