Carol Ann Duffy

The Love Poem

Till love exhausts itself, longs
for the sleep of words - 
                                     my mistress' eyes - 
to lie on a white sheet, at rest
in the language - 
                           let me count the ways - 
or shrink to a phrase like an epitaph - 
                                                           come live
with me - 
or fall from its own high cloud as syllables
in a pool of verse - 
                             one hour with thee. 
Till love gives in and speaks
in the whisper of art - 
                                  dear heart,
how like you this? - 
love's lips pursed to quotation marks
kissing a line - 
                      look in thy heart
and write - 
love's light fading, darkening, 
black as ink on a page - 
                                     there is a garden
in her face.
Till love is all in the mind - 
                                           O my America!
my new-found land - 
or all in the pen
in the writer's hand - 
                                 behold, thou art fair - 
not there, except in a poem,
known by heart like a prayer,
both near and far,
near and far - 
                      the desire of the moth
for the star.