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Picture 13424112, 20th century photograph, image copyright Mary Evans / Manuel Cohen

Next Door to the Capulets
by Sarah Lawson

 

Balconies would be all right

If people only took the air —

Left their doors agape these nights

So hot it’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 am’rous labours

Phrased so fervently and oddly

Should be pursued at hours not so ungodly.

 

 

© 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 Wisteria’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 Prévert. 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.

 

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