I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

5 March 2013

Photo of a Man in a Café

There you are, caught off guard,
leaning back in your chair,
a just-lit cigarette
stuck between two fingers,
flipping open your wallet
for the price of our meal.
Your hair looks dark, tied back.
(Loose, it had blonde lights.)

You're wearing jeans, one earring,
the copper medallion I gave you
and a T-shirt with a Gold Coast logo
you thought would please me
and bought specially: 'Look,
your country's famous swimming team,'
not knowing that to me it was just
some surf club, one of many.

At this point you still think
we might go somewhere afterwards
and make love. At this point
I still think I might let it happen.
Home now, eighteen months later,
I view your image onscreen.
My cursor traces your profile
as my fingers never did.

You were twice as tempting
as Lindt to a chocoholic.
But I had this other place
to return to, this other man.
You bought me wine
though you abstained.
We talked a very long time.
You drove away alone.

Well, it wouldn't have done.
I was never going to be
a gracious Southern lady
nor you an understated Aussie bloke.
And we kept having to explain
what we did and didn't mean,
cutting through tangles of different
strange accents, foreign words.

Now we're friends instead.
You learnt to use computers;
we meet online.
And there are changes.
You stopped smoking; I no longer drink.
Your latest photos show you
wearing dreadlocks and a beard,
and the medallion I gave you.

An old poem, resurrected to submit to Poets United's Poetry Pantry #140
Also submitted to dVerse Open Link Night #86


  1. relationships can be a beast, isn't it? there are no answers to the 'what ifs'.

    what a wonderful write. classic. timeless.

    1. To have turned it to friendship is nice.

      Thank you.

  2. This is beautiful. The descriptions are not only gorgeous but wonderfully specific, so much so that I could see a short story or novel leaping out of these stanzas. And I adore your lines, "twice as tempting/as Lindt to a chocoholic" because I can totally relate. Beautiful poem! :^)

    1. Thank you, Brianna. I might write the story as part of a memoir one day. The circumstances of our meeting were quite extraordinary. :)

  3. This poem is so quietly sensual, soft like favorite memories taken out and simply enjoyed for that moment that was so real and need to be remembered, fully enjoyed like chocolate slowly melting on the tongue. Wonderful writing,


  4. there are always choices, aren't there?
    I could feel the pulling, the tangles...
    well done

  5. I really like this poem a lot, Rosemary. Indeed in time people do change, and sometimes it is good to have friends.....and memories. And to know that the necklace and you mattered.

  6. Changing for the better is grand, nice to see it over time, great descriptive chime.

  7. i am glad there is a friendship in the after...and that it was not all or nothing as it is for so many...its pretty cool that he still wears the medallion...that says much of how much you mean to him...

  8. You told a good story here. Lots of attention to detail, excellent characterization, with some nice, subtle observations of human nature suggested through the tale. I enjoyed this piece very much!

  9. Could see him sitting there so clearly.
    Not a bad memory to carry with you. Bitter-sweet, but so is life.
    Besides, who needs milk-chocolate :-)

  10. ...befriend with your past is something hard to do but helps you understand better the relationship that didn't last as it once hoped to be... perhaps, maybe somethings are better wrong at first so to remind us of the many possibilities building relationship could offer that rather doesn't require to be intimate & lustful but most essentially it must gain you respect both to self and to him/her. I really like the very detailed description you provide to create a setting and mood/s... smiles...

    1. Very astute of you Kelvin. I think you're quite right. This one is so much better as a friendship than it would have been as a romance.

  11. really nice use of imagery and descriptions here, really nicely done. Thanks

  12. I like this very much, Rosemary--it says a lot about our hearts and how they work.

  13. Vivid. I am there viewing the t-shirt at the table, feeling the No of the Yes and the body memory, ready for the next stage of knowing, modern and apart, cursor in hand.