Jessica Learned to Kiss

Jessica Learned To Kiss

Jessica learned to kiss,
Yet never would
Kiss me. This

Witholding of a kiss
Seemed to be
Part of her glee
At parting.

Or was she
Wise enough to see
That to defer
Made time doubt
Its hold on her
And me?

At all events
Only this week,
Perhaps disenchanted
With philosophic teasing,
A kiss she planted
On my cheek.


from Selected Poems 1955-97 (OUP, 1997), copyright © Charles Tomlinson 1997, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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Charles Tomlinson

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1Above Manhattan

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2Fountain

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3Revolution, Piazza di Spagna

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4To Vasko Popa in Rome

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5Winter Journey I (1)

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6Winter Journey IV

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7To My Daughter

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8Jessica Learned to Kiss

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9After the Poetry Reading

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10Colloquy with a Grandchild

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11A Given Grace

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12A Rose for Janet

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13Event

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14Paring the Apple

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15The Picture of J.T. in a Prospect of Stone

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16John Mayhew, or The Allotment

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17At Stoke

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18Etruria Vale

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19The Marl Pits

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20News

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21Epidauros

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22Against Travel

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23Las Trampas, U.S.A.

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24Jemez

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25A Death in the Desert

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26Arroyo Hondo

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27Mr. Brodsky

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28Assassin

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29On the Late Plane

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30A Sense of Distance

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31During Rain

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32Drawing down the Moon

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33The Door

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Books by Charles Tomlinson