‘Waverley, 4.05.’ – a poem by John Fuller


The below poem is taken from John Fuller’s new, semi-autobiographical collection of poetry, Asleep & Awake, recently published by Chatto & Windus.



    Waverley, 4.05.


At Waverley, at Waverley,
Although I didn’t show it,
I knew a certain thing that
Needed knowing,
At Waverley.

A resolve in the heart
Deeper than any words,
An unexpected reward
After some time apart,
At Waverley.

Beneath that iron edifice
And its dulled reverberation of voices
Your lips reached up to mine
With a fresh Scottish kiss,
At Waverley, at Waverley.

I had come to stay with your sister
In Scott’s metropolis,
And you were just like yourself
When you met me with a kiss
At Waverley, at Waverley.

Greeting you there, after empty weeks at home
When your existence seemed a fabulous rumour,
I was restored to a possession of myself
Of which you were an indissoluble part.

I had thought that my life would never begin.
But there you were, and no thought of an ending,
Like a landscape bathed in light, where legends start,
Like a won position at chess, that needs no defending.

You put your arm in mine at Waverley
And I was willingly led out of the concourse
Into our resumed and now entirely certain life
Whose truth possessed me with a renewed force
At Waverley, at Waverley.

The name was strange—Waverley,
So appropriate for a railway station
With its moods of hesitation and goodbye,
But inappropriate for me

When for once, and at once, and for all time,
With a kiss that was both a reminder and a promise,
A perfect fresh kiss that could never lie,
I knew that I would never say goodbye.


John Fuller

About John Fuller

John Fuller is an award-winning poet and Booker Prize-shortlisted novelist. His most recent collection is 'Asleep & Awake' (Chatto & Windus, 2020), a semi-autobiographical collection celebrating love, life and creativity. His previous collection, 'The Bone Flowers', a book-length discursive narrative about the death of a fashionable art collector, was published by Chatto & Windus to celebrate his 80th birthday in 2017. A Collected Poems (1996) and a New Selected Poems (2012) are also available from Chatto. His most recent novel, 'The Clock in the Forest', was published by Shoestring Press in 2017.