Poem: Alasdair Gray © 2005



He had wounded himself in the traditional places
but no new crop came from the harrrowed flesh,
and to reject a wound he did not need
would leave the heart unoccupied indeed
if healing only restored the usual surfaces and faces.

Disposed by a quietened will to classical stillness
girls' names no longer evoked the lost erotic chances,
but a wife, a baby, a cat and domestic repose
might flatten the torn ground where feeling grows.
Must everything the heart feels be a sort of illness?

No. Not what the heart feels
..............................but what the tongue has declared:
words pour from disease like sweat
..............................and breed like germs in a wound.
Love talk, like all talk, is a way of saying no.
We do not explain or complain when sure of the way to go
Meals are exclusive. Famine is always shared.

To enjoy the wife who is his, lovingly, legally
is to be silent. How can he be silent and be?
He imprisons his heart and will not allow a door.
By fearing the gift of love he loves fear more.
It is not fulfilment he wants, but to be wounded regally.