‘Forgive, learn from the past. Press on.’

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Rosemary Dobson
from ‘Poems of a Marriage’

2. Reading Aloud

Low, clear and free of self your voice went on
At night you read, and for how many years
From Sterne to Kipling, Flaubert, Bowell, Proust –
Proust a whole year, and finishing you said
‘One of the great experiences of my life.’
And mine, and mine.

Intent to listen, Quieting my hands
With plain and purl, I followed your low voice,
Knitting unmindfully long scarves for friends
Sent off as signs of the shared calm content
Still looked for the un-shared books I choose
Reading alone.

Well, we gave up once, stalled on Chuzzlewit.
How wrong it felt. you sensed a binding need
To take books to the end. Faced with reverses said,
‘We must press on.’
From books to life, your thought:
‘Forgive, learn from the past. Press on.’
And I press on.

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