How do you earn a life going on
behind yellow windows, writing at night
the latin names of plants for a garden
opening the front door to a wet dog.
Those who love you, forgive you, clearly
with steaming casseroles and red wine.
Its the same film down all the surburban streets.
It’s a Wonderful Life. How do you learn it?
What you hear- the doorbells familiar chime.
What you touch- the clean warm towels.
What you see, what you smell, what you taste
all tangible to the stranger passing your gate.
There you are again, in a room where those early hyacinths
surely sweeten the air, and the right words wait
in the dictionaries, on the tip of a tongue you touch
in a kiss, drawing your crimson curtains now-
Against dark hours. And again in a kitchen
the window ajar, sometimes the sound of your radio,
or the scent of your food, and a cat in your arms,
a child in your arms, a lover. Such vivid flowers.
Carol Ann Duffy.