O Taste and See

Because of a kiss on the forehead
in the long Night's infirmary,
through the red wine let light shine deep.

Because of the thirtysix just men
that so stealthily roam this earth
raise high the glass and do not weep.

Who says the world is not a wedding?
Couples, in their oases, lullabye.
Let glass be full before they sleep.

Toast all that which seems to vanish
like a rainbow stared at, those bright
truant things that will not keep;

and ignorance of the last night
of our lives, its famished breathing.
Then, in the red wine, taste the light.


from New and Collected Poems (Hutchinson, 2003), copyright © Dannie Abse 2003, used by permission of the author

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1Epithalamion

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2Photograph and White Tulips

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3Mysteries

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4Hunt the thimble

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5Horse

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6Return to Cardiff

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7Cousin Sidney

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8A new diary

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9Not Adlestrop

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10Snake

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11The Relic

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12Pathology of colours

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13Peachstone

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14In the theatre

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15Tuberculosis

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16Pantomime diseases

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17O Taste and See

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18Refugee

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19Meurig Dafydd to his Mistress

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20Lament of Heledd

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21Touch Wood

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22A Letter from Ogmore-by-Sea

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23Last Words

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