Winning poem from 2012 Valentine's Day Poetry Contest run by Rotorua Public Library. Judges comments: “An amazingly professional poem—the kind we might expect to see in the Listener or a serious collection”
When no one else is listening
she will mutter irrelevant details about him to herself.
(The same way that a nun or a priest
might remind themselves of a particularly comforting bible
passage or idly hum a childhood hymn.)
She is the carefully modest young woman of her time
her hair coiffed back and tucked under
yet her lips cherry red and puckered in delight
at his appearance,
leaving a dusky stain pressed against the window as a softly kissed fog.
He is the mirrored pane which offers, what is perhaps
not the truest, but the
best, reflection of herself.
She gazes, her own tempo tied to each scene
like the beating wings of the small white butterflies
playing across the pale bark of the trees outside.
the dust that dances prettily across
the afternoon rays of sunshine flickering in through the curtains.
He is the most handsomely carved marble bust
encased in glass, surrounded by the finest things
and simplest bits of wonder.
Gold gilded edges of picture frames
and hand cut crystal dripping from light fixtures.
Porcelain as fine as the delicate wings of the dragonflies
that glide across the teaset to play in the silver set roses.
She is the deep black pond, hollowing inward,
that he floats above; avian and beautiful,
shining across the surface, a phosphorescent sliver of light.
She is the wild thing and
He is the wolfish moon that she howls to
in the darkest deepest corners of the night.
She is the small guarded hand and
he is the brightly coloured centre of the room.
He is the all and the everything,
that her gaze may rest on ever long
but her lips may never touch.