'Spring Fall' by Adrian Caesar | States of Poetry ACT - Series One

I see you stand with your back to me
at the French window as you did last March
looking at early flowers
yellow and crimson, pansy and primrose
peeping from their crust of snow and
above them the steel-sculpted angel
rearing from a wooden plinth: guardian
of the courtyard. In those bleak days I knew
you were reading the cemetery metaphor
of your blighted time; your death-sentence
delivered too early before you'd finished
flourishing, much less gathered the fruits
of later life; the hope of a ripe fall.
I did not speak then, not knowing what to say
and keen to lend what strength I could to
elongate your stay. It's only now you've gone
these words insist, should I have spoken and
what said? The silence echoes in this
recurring scene of you turning to face
breakfast, the torture food had become,
and me, who could not stop the haunting
of that cold figure, the austere seraph
you'd bought, body and wings
three curved scimitars surmounted
by a featureless ball-bearing head,
apt messenger of death in spring;
an angel built to last: terrible, hard
and comfortless.

Adrian Caesar


Recording ('Spring Fall' begins at 3:04)