by Alan Brownjohn
(for D.S.) I am writing this down on a late June evening
In the future we talked about.
Now as then, the air humid, the roof and treetop colours
The same to-night as they were before, untouched
By any change time might have projected. The moment
Feels the same as when we both stepped out to the terrace
For air, fifty years back, to look in from that terrace
At our past deliberately. This present evening
Is halted by my sudden recall of the moment:
Saunders closes the glass door on our Midsummer
Party, and the dancing, and we both stand there untouched
By time... I know it all as I did then, the colours,
The lamps, the music then coldly the colours
Of another world waiting beyond the terrace
Den and I were balanced on, a place still untouched
By our youthful energies! That those evening
Sounds of seventy-eights on that midsummer
Night of our last week will end at that moment
We have not understood, it does not seem a moment
For growing much older in. We look at the colours
Back inside the room, of our endless midsummer,
And find them sufficient; from that redbrick terrace
They appear to reach out beyond our evening,
And claim all the farther darkness untouched
By their innocent radiance.
But it could not stay untouched
For long. There would come for each of us some moment
Which would alter everything in less than an evening,
And make another future. The dancing colours
Inside the room called us back, but the dusk of the terrace
Contained in fact a darkness that would cancel midsummer,
Forestalling our inheritance of any midsummer.
The future would command us we who were untouched
By experience to step out from that terrace
As onto a mountain ledge not long after that moment,
Even though the air felt gentle and the comforting colours
Back there in the room seemed immune
to the darkening evening.
Our midsummer turned dangerous at that moment.
Such seasons don't stay untouched and preserve the same colours.
Our future was there on the terrace of that last evening