Balconies would be all right
If people only took the air â€”
Left their doors agape these nights
So hot itâ€™s modest to sleep bare.
If people only stood out there
Out of earshot, out of sight,
No one else would need to care
Or notice happenings at that height.
But conversations in the dark
Loud enough to wake the neighbours,
However sweet the sorrow, mark
An uncouth lad whose amâ€™rous labours
Phrased so fervently and oddly
Should be pursued at hours not so ungodly.
Â© Sarah Lawson
Picture 13424112, 20th century photograph, image copyright Mary Evans / Manuel Cohen
Sarah Lawson is a poet and translator. Born in Indianapolis in 1943, she has spent most of her adult life in London. Her poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and in her collections Below the Surface and All the Tea in China. She has published three poetry pamphlets with Hearing Eye: Down Where the Willow Is Washing Her Hair, Friends in the Country and Twelve Scenes of Malta, and a collection of haiku, The Wisteriaâ€™s Children. In prose she has published A Fado for my Mother, and a memoir about Poland, The Ripple Effect. She has translated works from French, Spanish and Dutch, and is probably the only person to have translated both Christine de Pisan and Jacques PrÃ©vert. Her play, Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, was performed at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre. Her latest translation from French is the story of a Bengali girl who refused to get married at the age of 11, The Strength to Say No by Rekha Kalindi. Other recent works are a novel, The Bohemian Pirate, and a collection of essays about Gone with the Wind, The GWTW Fortnight.