Guest poem sent in by Radhika Gowaikar
(Poem #1913) A Style of Loving
Light now restricts itself To the top half of trees; The angled sun Slants honey-coloured rays That lessen to the ground As we bike through The corridor of Palm Drive. We two Have reached a safety the years Can claim to have created: Unconsummated, therefore Unjaded, unsated. Picnic, movie, ice-cream; Talk; to clear my head Hot buttered rum -- coffee for you; And so not to bed. And so we have set the question Aside, gently. Were we to become lovers Where would our best friends be? You do not wish, nor I To risk again This savoured light for noon's High joy or pain.
I was browsing in a bookstore, many years ago, when I first read this. Some fragment of it must have stayed with me; I bought The Collected Poems last year simply to reclaim this poem. It is not as if I recommend this particular style of loving -- indeed, all those years ago, when I was young(er) and brash(er) I would perhaps have advised against it -- but then, as now, I find the piece poignant. The subtlety of the sentiment is remarkable, and Seth's verse does it justice. The poem also speaks to me of the many different personal choices that are available to us if only we are not oblivious to them. This first appeared in the collection All You Who Sleep Tonight. radhika.