"And now all knew, and nothing was more sure—A light could die just from the way it shone."by Clive James / July 16, 2015 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2015 issue of Prospect Magazine
“Then the guards wheeled left A yard in front of me, and their slow march—Spit-shine parade boots on a flagstone floor—Down the side corridor beyond the arch Crunched, boomed and whispered and went silent” The Abbey choir sings “I Know Not the Hour” And once again we all sit silent where She, only, was not sighing for the waste Of youth, health, beauty and the savoir faire That might have saved her own soul later on Had there not been the panic-stricken haste, The concrete tunnel and the car’s crushed power, Almost as if she wanted to be gone,Even without a chance to say goodbye. From my seat on the transept’s left-hand aisle I saw the ceremony end. Six men Shouldered the coffin and I could have sworn That they brought her to me. You well might smile, But she could smile as if she were the dawn All set for a night out. That she would die So soon, and never race your heart again,Seemed not in nature. Then the guards wheeled left A yard in front of me, and their slow march – Spit-shine parade boots on a flagstone floor – Down the side corridor beyond the arch Crunched, boomed and whispered and went silent. So She started her flight home. It felt like theft. Until she vanished few of us could know – And now all knew, and nothing was more sure –A light could die just from the way it shone. Her fantasy, or ours? I couldn’t say. She pulled the names, she got them on her team: No question. Think, though, of some crippled kid She talked to a long time, and later on Wrote letters to, and never said she did. Tell yourself then that she was just a dream, Gone when the soldiers carried her away.