When we love, when we tell ourselves we do,
we are pining for first love, somewhen,
before we thought of wanting it. When we rearrange
the rooms we end up living in, we are looking
for first light, the arrangement of light,
that time, before we knew to call it light.
Or talk of music, when we say
we cannot talk of it, but play again
C major, A flat minor, we are straining
for first sound, what we heard once,
then, in lost chords, wordless languages.
What country do we come from? This one?
The one where the sun burns
when we have night? The one
the moon chills; elsewhere, possible?
Why is our love imperfect,
music only echo of itself,
the light wrong?
We scratch in dust with sticks,
dying of homesickness
for when, where, what.
-- Carol Ann Duffy, from New Selected Poems 1984-2004