Sunday, November 17, 2013

In the Cafe

©  Steve King
All rights reserved

That night you chanced upon the old café,
I recalled times we had so long ago.
Not  just the words, nor how we sounded then,
but in the way our eyes would speak for us
to top the clamor, and the way our smiles
at once would satisfy each hidden care.

The while you spoke, I pored over your face.
I saw the things the years worked to deny:
youth, innocence and infatuation,
wrapped in the folds of some fine elegance;
a legacy that showed your gaze, your smile,
framed just the way an artist might have done
to hold it for my ideal vision.
I needed but a curve, a shadowed line,
one turn, one scent, to seize the whole again.
When you had gone, your space was resonant,
grace notes alive to theme old worlds anew.

I took your picture, needlessly, I know,
for I will never look to you that way:
that image would not so deny the years—
cast by the bottled light on plastic screen,
recording but a shape, without your forms;
hard vestiges that point to your old griefs,
the changes you accrued in long absence,
the weight of secrets never meant for me,
and gladnesses that I shall never see.

These speak not to the pleasures in my eyes,
that choose to find only what could not be;
nor to the hold of ancient promisings,
and old sirens that sang too long to me.

This week’s post for Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads

and The dVerse Pub OLN on Tuesday


  1. Such a heart-touching read. Beautifully penned. :-)

  2. Funny how we cling to memories of the past which may be different from reality ~ The poignancy and sadness are palpable in your words but I specially like how you pored over the face in the second stanza, that curve and line to seized the whole again ~

    As always a pleasure to read you Steve ~

    No need to visit me this time, I'm taking a short break ~

    Happy week ~


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  4. I like how you use theme as a verb.and these lingering romantic thoughts.

  5. 'I pored over your face.' ~ the observation by the artist, love the line. ~ evocative poem...

  6. the past sometimes distorts the present when viewed through a prism...something we all do at times... good write.. it promotes thought...

  7. The memory/reality/photograph: you have captured the limitations of all three while by having your narrator sit in the afterglow, the still encumbered space of an old siren song. I feel I have had similar brief reunions (or wished them).

  8. Yes the remembered past seems so often to color the present perceptions. Some lovely lines in this.

  9. my goodness i believe i have lived this moment. how well-wrought, i love this.

  10. How we try to lay hold of those perfect moments in time, with a photo, or even a poem, while never quite clinging to the ephemeral experiences of our lives.

  11. That very much struck a chord. Thank you.

  12. a picture will never completely capture the moment...i like the poring over their face...the intensity of that, trying to capture the moment even if in memory.....def a strong emotion behind these words as well...

  13. So lovely and poignant.... Photos have always felt a bit like false memories to me. Love what you did here.

  14. This is marvelous....truly loved it ;)

  15. Nice. It is more than the shape of light and shadow that goes into knowing what someone looks like, inside and out.

  16. Exquisite poem, as beautiful as the picture you painted with your words. :)

  17. A wonderful poem, I love it. So true with memories and how the years progress and life changes and so do the people we love or have loved.

  18. There is often one we remember more than any others, and having lived a full life and knowing we can never go back to that place, still sometimes we ponder the "what-ifs" and "maybes," A truly lovely and poignant story reflecting on and capturing that bond (that pull) between past and present. A beautiful piece of writing as always, Steve!

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  20. One more time, without the typos:
    A bittersweet sense of loss that yet holds on pervades this, Steve. Things that live in the mind and heart are so often more than what our eyes can see, under 'bottled light,' in the artificial world that confines us in time and space to be only what we are and not everything we were or could/should have been. Evocative, balanced and beautiful sense of nostalgia in this, and also a feel for what is actually valued and real.

  21. Steve a poignant piece of looking into both the past and future through the present. >KB