Friday, 15 February 2013

Poetry Reads: Absence by Edwin Morgan

It is yet again a wonderful poem by Edwin Morgan that is filled with nostalgia, warmth and longing. Check the imagery out; it, the birds on the roof, early morning in London, the glow of the morning light and the cold. There is a lot going on in the narrator’s mind and he addresses his beloved as his ‘shadow’.  To him, the wind feels like fire and there is a hint of his being disturbed. He has had a dream in which he saw that he was reunited with his ‘shadow’ amidst the chaos and the traffic. In her eyes he sees what he cannot read and he only wishes she was around. This dramatic monologue takes place in the narrator’s bedroom.

The second stanza reveals the bustle of a morning. The ‘lights are out’ and the ‘air is loud’ reveal the day has begun. Somewhere the narrator wonders if his ‘shadow’ can sense the hubbub on the streets and if she is about – ‘Are you at my heels? Are you here’? He feels a sense of longing and it appears to the reader that he is about to prepare for the day with ‘And I throw back the sheets’. 

by Edwin Morgan

My shadow --
I woke to a wind swirling the curtains light and dark
and the birds twittering on the roofs, I lay cold
in the early light in my room high over London.
What fear was it that made the wind sound like a fire
so that I got up and looked out half-asleep
at the calm rows of street-lights fading far below?
Without fire
Only the wind blew.
But in the dream I woke from, you
came running through the traffic, tugging me, clinging
to my elbow, your eyes spoke
what I could not grasp --
Nothing, if you were here!

The wind of the early quiet
merges slowly now with a thousand rolling wheels.
The lights are out, the air is loud.
It is an ordinary January day.
My shadow, do you hear the streets?
Are you at my heels? Are you here?
And I throw back the sheets. 


(Article by Kabita Sonowal)

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