15 Sept 2023
‘And it was never really
the same after that’
After Ron Padgett’s
… no blue and yellow morning in which
your stretching spine perfected itself
and their skin was rosy; no night where their hands
were wind and moonlight over your valleys;
no listless work evenings; no changing of the sheets;
no sitting apart to decompress
as the flat hummed gently. You were always flame
even on the low-burning days;
the fruit you took at their well-known lips
was always sharper. And the recall
of all of this says there is nothing
either ignoble or easy
about the simple attempt to tell it:
coming back to the bench in Congo Square
the greens are deeper, the stones sashay
in a different rhythm, newly alive
each time it happens. It was never the same
after you were asked, and you said ‘yes’.
Behind the poem...
The title of my poem comes from a line in Ron Padgett’s Love Poem; a poem used to such tender, arresting effect in the 2016 Jim Jarmusch film, Paterson. Both the poem and the movie spoke to me about the ways in which ordinary life can be alchemised by poetic language – and that seemed to me the perfect jumping-off point for a poem about a moment when the texture of my own life altered dramatically ... when my fiancée (now wife) proposed to me.