Friday, 29 June 2007

Le Grand Meaulnes

Le Grand Meaulnes

One day in a library a book chose me
and, looking back, it made the right decision;
opening and closing like an accordion
its world was something I could hear and see.

It was deep summer when I read Le Grand Meaulnes,
so often accompanying its shy narrator
through wide evenings; June leaves got fuller –
one evening something prompted me to go

down long-familiar lanes, walking until
with vaguer bearings: dark trees, a field,
hung lights and bunting for a fete or prize-giving;

the winner is a girl whose looks appeal;
she seems a star of the local gathering;
with uninvited eyes I drink my fill

waiting in this moment a little longer,
in this strange field where Alain Fournier
is somehow present, the novelist…

and his unknown narratives appear
and Meaulnes, the adolescent player,
about to summon, tap me on the shoulder,

when daylight has drained out of the West.
Night comes; and I am tens of summers older
and rain has washed away prizes and guests.


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