A Midlife Testimony: Chris Mann

Chris Mann1

I do not love you anymore.
I used to, when we were young
and words like love were tumbling in our thoughts.’
The scent of jasmine in the streets of spring,
the press of starlight through a sky of leaves
was what such words then meant to me.

But when I track back through the years
and see what we have shared,
the bliss and strain of parenting,
the stress of work and terror at the loss of work,
the illnesses, bereavements and despair,
I reach a truth we thought we knew
but only glimpsed in phantom silhouettes,
that more, much more’s enfolded in love’s youth
than carefree laughter, lingering kisses,
starlight and the scents of spring.

Ah no, my subtle-fingered humorous one,
stepping back a moment from your easel,
your hair tied back, your brush in hand,
oblivious to the ringing of the phone,
I more than love you now –
I cannot bear to wake without your body being near.

And when I recollect your flying curls,
your mulberry-coloured jacket and your black beret,
and see you standing in a midnight doorway once again
where jasmine’s fragrance drifted through the dark
and stars outlined your tilt of head,
your fling of hair, the white camellia of your throat,
that love, if such it be returns,
that wild, sweet, fiery exhilaration storms back
and cloudbursts through my midlife’s shaken heart.