first published in 1996 in The Thing in the Gap Stone Stile
Alice Oswald, British born 1966 Professor of Poetry, Oxford University, elected June 2019
From time to time our love is like a sail
and when the sail begins to alternate
from tack to tack, it’s like a swallowtail
and when the swallow flies it’s like a coat;
and if the coat is yours, it has a tear
like a wide mouth and when the mouth begins
to draw the wind, it’s like a trumpeter
and when the trumpet blows, it blows like millions …
and this, my love, when millions come and go
beyond the need of us, is like a trick;
and when the trick begins, it’s like a toe
tip-toeing on a rope, which is like luck;
and when the luck begins, it’s like a wedding,
which is like love, which is like everything.
Railroaded, 2018, digital print mounted on aluminum. Alison Walls. On display at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia in 2019 in a joint exhibition: Women’s Mobile Museum about the experience of women in exile.
This was organized with Zanele Muholi, South African artist in residency at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.