Carol Ann Duffy

Midsummer Night

Not there to see midsummer's midnight rose 
open and bloom, me, 
or there when the river dressed in turquoise 
under the moon, you; 
not there when stones softened, opened, showed 
the fossils they held 
or there, us, when the dark sky fell to the earth 
to gather its smell. 

Not there when a strange bird sang on a branch 
over our heads, you 
and me, or there when a starlit fruit ripened 
itself on a tree. 
Not there to lie on the grass of our graves, both, 
alive alive oh, 
or there for Shakespeare's shooting star,
or for who we are, 

but elsewhere, far. Not there for the magic hour 
when time becomes love 
or there for light's pale hand to slip, slender, 
from darkness's glove. 
Not there when our young ghosts called to us 
from the other side 
or there where the heron's rags were a silver gown, 
by grace of the light. 

Not there to be right, to find our souls, we, 
dropped silks on the ground, 
or there to be found again by ourselves, you, me, 
mirrored in water. 
Not there to see constellations spell themselves on the sky 
and black rhyme with white 
or there to see petals fold on a rose like a kiss 
on midsummer night.