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I wake to a sense of forgetfulness,

casually reaching to your side

of the bed to remember it empty.

I mourn for the world I thought existed,

the promise of us … I go back to a moment

before I met you: I walked across a field

and looked up. I saw the sky above me

and I was ecstatic to be living, to stare up

and have my heart blown open to the colour

of the midday blue, there in the lazy heat

of the summer afternoon. This, I learnt

from you also, though bodily at your hands

and you at mine: how love’s gifts and judgments

are beyond our knowledge and will outlive

our longing. I get up finally and go to the basin,

wash my face clean to the cold comfort of water;

towel dry my jaw and hold my stare –

this the daybreak hour.



© Noel Duffy

Picture 10157450, photograph, 1930s, image copyright Mary Evans / Barnaby’s Picture Library



Noel Duffy has published three collections to date with a fourth, Street Light Amber, due to appear in spring 2020. His poetry has appeared widely, including in The Irish Times, The Financial Times and Poetry Ireland Review, and has been broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. He was the recipient of the Patrick & Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry in 2018.