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Image by Caroline Forbes

Poem introduction

My wife, to whom I've been married since 1955, rather ruefully says now and again that I don't seem to have written any real love poems about her, or not for a very long time. Here's about as close as I can get to a love poem. (She does like this one.)

Together, Apart

Together, Apart

Too much together, or too much apart:
This is one problem of the human heart.

Thirty-five years of sharing day by day
With so much shared there is no need to say

So many things: we know instinctively
The common words of our proximity.

Not here, you're missed; now here, I need to get away,
To make some portion separate in the day.

And not belonging here, I feel content
When brooding on the portion that is spent.

Where everything is strange, and yet is known,
I sit under the trees and am alone,

Until there is an emptiness all round,
Missing your voice, the sweet habitual sound

Of our own language. I walk back to our room
Through the great park's descending evening gloom,

And find you there, after these hours apart,
Not having solved this question of the heart.


from Selected Poems (Enitharmon, 1997), copyright © Anthony Thwaite 1997, used by permission of the author

Recordings

Anthony Thwaite Reading from his Poems

1Monologue in the Valley of the Kings

2By the Sluice

3A Girdle Round the Earth

4For Louis MacNeice

5Called For

6At Marychurch

7Shock

8Imagine a City

9The Return

10Cockroach Story

11Together, Apart

12Sigma

13Potter

14Memoir

15Snakes

16Philip Larkin in New Orleans

17Elegiac Stanzas

18In 1936

19My Father's Poems

20Archaeology

21Watching

22Worst Words

23The Message

24A Crack of Air

25Doing Business

27Tune

27How to Behave

28Epiphany

29Movements

30Simple Poem

Books & cds by Anthony Thwaite