Lesley Quayle – A Teatime Miracle

A Teatime Miracle*

We watch to see if their hearts’ bitterness
can unconsume itself, to see if it will breathe

and take its bearings on the premise of restraint, the public
telescope of duty – private purgatory exiled in handshakes,

fingers folding, gripping, holding tight, releasing, holding tight,
past torments clenched, unbearable in the avoidance of eyes,

afraid of looking lost perhaps, of seeing through the careful
packaging of State and exposing the same old guide book,

same old torn out pages. Too much for words, other than
the ones which settle on the lips like humdrum flies,

a kind of rain which blurs the mind, overlaying history
with foggy palimpsests. Over a cup of tea, the past

affronts the present, old men shake hands. We are
the mute spectators at a teatime miracle.

(*Title from an extract in a Guardian article by Jonathan Jones, about the historic meeting between Prince Charles and Gerry Adams.)

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