‘Twickenham Garden’: a poem by Andrew McNeillie

Twickenham Garden


We say it still, asking each other
how many poems do you know by heart?
Meaning how many can you recite
from memory and something more
implying passion not rote,
the stronger with time.

We say by heart, because we love –
as lovers remember each other –
from first sight. And make no mistake
it's requited. The poem loves it too
when you say it again
for a poem prefers company.

And word for word it's the same poem
still beating its measure but
the more you hear it, the stranger
it leaves you, as smitten as you were
when it first caught your eye
and both your hearts leapt.

How strange but you never tire of each other,
reciting and reciting over
garbling a line, half forgetting a stanza,
starting again to prove you can.
Growing as couples will
in mutual understanding, good and ill.

Andrew McNeillie

About Andrew McNeillie

Andrew McNeillie runs the Clutag Press and is the founding editor of the literary magazine ARCHIPELAGO. His most recent book of poems, Winter Moorings, appeared from Carcanet in 2014. A new book, Making Ends Meet, is to be published this autumn by Guillemot Press in Cornwall.