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For Li, in lieu of a better Valentine's present

Meeting Point

Time was away and somewhere else,
There were two glasses and two chairs
And two people with the one pulse
(Somebody stopped the moving stairs)
Time was away and somewhere else.

And they were neither up nor down;
The stream’s music did not stop
Flowing through heather, limpid brown,
Although they sat in a coffee shop
And they were neither up nor down.

The bell was silent in the air
Holding its inverted poise –
Between the clang and clang a flower,
A brazen calyx of no noise:
The bell was silent in the air.

The camels crossed the miles of sand
That stretched around the cups and plates;
The desert was their own, they planned
To portion out the stars and dates:
The camels crossed the miles of sand.

Time was away and somewhere else.
The waiter did not come, the clock
Forgot them and the radio waltz
Came out like water from a rock:
Time was away and somewhere else.

Her fingers flicked away the ash
That bloomed again in tropic trees:
Not caring if the markets crash
When they had forests such as these,
Her fingers flicked away the ash.

God or whatever means the Good
Be praised that time can stop like this,
That what the heart has understood
Can verify in the body’s peace
God or whatever means the Good.

Time was away and she was here
And life no longer what it was,
The bell was silent in the air
And all the room one glow because
Time was away and she was here.

Louis MacNeice

7 Comments

  1. trevelyan wrote:

    Calls to mind Dorothy Parker:

    By the time you swear you’re his,
    Shivering and sighing,
    And he vows his passion is
    Infinite, undying
    Lady make a note of this:
    One of you is lying.

    Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 8:31 am | Permalink
  2. Killjoy.

    Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 8:37 am | Permalink
  3. Joey wrote:

    like a poem.,i like.connect my msn and make a friend.waitting you.

    Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 4:34 pm | Permalink
  4. Soong Li wrote:

    You’ll be in trouble, trevelyan. When’s the next time you’re coming back to beijing?

    Saturday, February 16, 2008 at 8:34 pm | Permalink
  5. trevelyan wrote:

    @Soong — I enjoy throwing cold water on Hallmark holidays. Not sure when I’ll be back in Beijing. Recent convert to CTrip though: makes it cheaper to fly than take the train.

    Monday, February 18, 2008 at 12:51 am | Permalink
  6. michael wrote:

    Nice taxicab confessions-style profile in China Daily today, Brendan. You’re eliminating prejudice one driver at a time. (I also often get mistaken for a Uyghur by Han taxi drivers who refuse to pick me up.)

    Friday, February 29, 2008 at 5:23 pm | Permalink
  7. Cheers, michael — I’d been counting on nobody actually reading China Daily, but apparently I was wrong.

    Friday, February 29, 2008 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

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