Music, in a Foreign Language

Andrew Crumey
Scots
b. 1961

 

In a cafe, once more I heard
Your voice – those sparse and frugal notes.
Do they not say that you spoke your native Greek
With an English accent?

Briefest of visions: eyes meet across the cafe;
A man of about my age – eyelids heavy,
Perhaps from recent pleasures.
I begin the most innocent of conversations.
Again I see that image;
Ancient delight of flesh
Against guiltless flesh.
Sweeter still, in its remembering.

Most innocent of conversations: once more, I am mistaken.
He leaves; the moment lost – and to forego
The squalor of this place, I read again your lines; those sparse and frugal notes.
In a taverna, you found beauty, long ago.
And when you draw, with your slim, swift pen
The image of that memory – time’s patient hostage;
Then how can I forget him, that boy whom you could not forget,
Or that music, in a foreign language?

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