Poetry: The Needful | clivejames.com
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The Needful


The needful thing is missing from the day
but everyone proceeds as though it’s fine
— like when we waited for the nightingale
and all we heard was the army firing range;

or when the bridegroom failed to find the ring
fumbling in the shallows of his pockets
till the priest ventured an exchange in the wording:
without this ring I wed thee anyway;

or when the iron crown of Monza
with its one nail from the true cross
was not at hand for Henry’s coronation
but in a pawnshop somewhere in Milan. 

(From Ink Stone, 2003)