Poems

Elizabeth Smither: ‘Lucy at the conference’

Lucy at the conference
for Lucy Dougan

 

When Lucy came up behind my chair

and put her arms around me

 

enclosing the stiff-backed chair

and my waist in a circle of air

 

so I half-turned my head

to identify her I thought

 

in an instant how the conference improved

the speeches became marvellous, courtly

 

in the deference to one another, not

one went over their time, the chairman

 

summed up each paper beautifully

all was harmony where before I had

 

harsh thoughts on the relevance of symposia

and whether all papers are soliloquies

 

until Lucy came: loose chair-filled embrace

side of her face against my cheek, wing

 

of hair and laugh deep in her throat

then what a treat to be in academia.

Elizabeth Smither

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