For a friend who argued that a poem should not simply look, but think.
But it’s the look of the thing I’m after: flicker and shine
on a leaf, a particular angle of sun where dust-
motes dance, that swelling heave in the pavement that must
be a plane-tree hammering back. Even the rain
falls differently each morning, to sizzle or leap
deep-ringed from puddles, and every crushed-foot bird
pigeons it with its own hobble and flirt. Faces crowd
platform, street, bar with looks I mustn’t let slip.
Too much, you’ll say – I should be constructing a case,
not indulging this raw greed for shapes and colours.
But I was never any good at argument: I lose
sight of the steady line, distracted by a word, a tune,
the glance of intimate or stranger — the enchanted glittering surfaces
there’s never enough time to love or to write down.