The White Chair
The man whose seat this is,
heavy iron, white paint, that he dragged out
one day into a corner of the rattling leaves
in the seawind, he is not here today.
He went off some place, some business,
and just now he is standing perhaps
amongst other leaves drummed on the same wind
coming in fast off a different sea.
But he has no seat to sit in, and here
it's as if his chair was waiting for me,
among the dropped brown leaves scurrying
like small animals, like birds into flight.
So therefore I will sit here thinking of him,
someone very like me perhaps, a solitary
who liked company, wherever he is and in what language
he listens to the wind, and what it says to him.
I will disturb nothing. Back again,
he will not know I have been here,
stepping down into the evening air to sit
in his chosen spot, lighting his cigar.
From You Again: Last poems & Other Words (Bloodaxe Books 2004). Reproduced by kind permission of Judi Benson.