Crown and Bough

Monday, 31 July 2017

Anne Hathaway

‘Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed…’ 
(from Shakespeare’s will)

 The bed we loved in was a spinning world 
of forests, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas 
where he would dive for pearls. My lover’s words 
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses 
on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme 
to his, now echo, assonance; his touch 
a verb dancing in the centre of a noun. 
Some nights I dreamed he’d written me, the bed 
a page beneath his writer’s hands. Romance 
and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste. 
In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on, 
dribbling their prose. My living laughing love – 
 I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head 
as he held me upon that next best bed.

-- Carol Ann Duffy

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