Poetry: Balcony Scene | clivejames.com
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Balcony Scene

Old as the hills and riddled with ill health,
I talk the talk but cannot walk the walk
Save at the pace of drying paint. My wealth
Of stamina is spent. Think of the hawk,
Nailed to its perch by lack of strength, that learns
To sing the lark’s song. What else can it do,
While dreaming of the day its power returns?
It is with all my heart I write to you.

My heart alone is what it always was.
The ultrasound shows nothing wrong with it,
And if we smile at that, then it’s because
We both know that its physical remit
Was only half the task the poor thing faced.
My heart had spiritual duties too,
And failed at all of them. Worse than a waste
Was how I hurt myself through hurting you.

Or so he says, you think. I know your fear
That my repentance comes too easily.
But to discuss this, let me lure you here,
To sit with me on my stone balcony.
A hint of winter cools the air, but still
It shines like summer. Here I can renew
My wooing, as a cunning stranger will.
His role reversed, your suitor waits for you.

The maple tree, the autumn crocuses —
They think it’s spring, and that their lives are long —
Lend colour to the green and grey. This is
A setting too fine for a life gone wrong.
It needs your laughter. Let me do my best
To earn that much, though you not find me true,
Or good, or fair, or fit for any test.
You think that I don’t know my debt to you?

High overhead, a pair of swallows fly,
Programmed for Africa, but just for now
They seem sent solely to enchant the eye
Here in this refuge I acquired somehow
Beyond my merit. Now a sudden wave
Of extra sunlight sharpens all the view.
There is a man here you might care to save
From too much solitude. He calls for you.

Here two opposing forces will collide —
Your proper anger and my shamed regret —
With all the weight of justice on your side.
But once we gladly spoke and still might yet.
Come, then, and do not hesitate to say
Art thou not Romeo, and a Montague?
Be wary, but don’t brush these words away,
For they are all yours. I wrote this for you.