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HOW TO RECOGNISE YOUR LOVER (poem) - Thomas McCarthy - Ireland - Poetry International
 
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HOW TO RECOGNISE YOUR LOVER
The name of a lover sparkles with voltage;
just before the rendezvous the beat is quickened,
held back by a fraction, now changed a little.
Eyes blink in the oceanic light of the sea villages;
your thoughts, a taut bow snapping suddenly.

This is what new love releases –
the enlarged odor of the broad lime tree,
milk of late meadows, nakedness in its pod.
It is the privets’ odour behind each house
where secrets are revealed.
It is low light with the patience of spiders.

Suddenly, the clarity of youth in the care-worn dunes:
words shoot into your mind, words long forgotten.
Here, even the standards of Maria Callas are attainable;
for you, the youthful cantilena –
eternally you will walk the long path, hand in hand.
O, soft light on robust paths of manful grass. O!
upon docile duckweeds, the cows’ prudence.


Editor's Note: This is a translation from the Dutch of an original poem by Tomas Lieske, made by Thomas McCarthy during the translation workshops at the 2010 Poetry International Festival, Rotterdam.