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C.H. Sisson

 

Tristia – 9


Speech cannot be betrayed, for speech betrays,
And what we say reveals the men we are.
But, once come to a land where no-one is,
We long for conversation, and a voice
Which answers what we say when we succeed
In saying for a moment that which is.
O careless world, which covers what is there
With what it hopes, or what best cheats and pays,
But speech with others needs another tongue.
For a to speak to b, and b to a,
A stream of commonalty must be found,
Rippling at times, at times in even flow,
And yet it turns to Lethe in the end.

—from C.H. Sisson Poems: Selected, Carcanet, 1995