If we lived in a different world
            or near enough to try
I would approach you, girl, and say:
            You won’t believe my eyes:
yours is the face I’ve loved for thirty years –
            your high forehead,
            that urchin-cut,
            old half-a-coconut shell.
But I’m not shooting a line.
            I know you’re someone else.

Somewhere out there’s the man I was.
            And still I hope you find him –
            perhaps you have,
and it may help to know
            he has kept faith –
            kept faith to thirty years of loss.
–        I mightn’t know her face these days
          if seen by chance.
          Nor yet would you,
          as like or not.
Goodbye, old girl, go far.

by Peter Dale

‘Face’ is copyright © Peter Dale, 2002. It is reprinted from Under the Breath (2002) by permission of Anvil Press.

Notes from Anvil Press:

Peter Dale‘s first full collection in over ten years brings together lyrical poems and monologues in which bleakness and tenderness alternate, conflict, and finally coexist. The bittersweet shifts of memory are evoked throughout with an understated tone, making the poems in Under the Breath compelling reading.

Peter Dale was born in Addlestone, Surrey, and worked as a secondary school teacher before becoming a freelance writer in 1993. As well as his selected poems, Edge to Edge (1997), Anvil has published his much admired translations of Jules Laforgue, François Villon and Dante’s Divine Comedy. His most recent collection, Diffractions: New and Selected Poems 1968-2010, was published by Anvil in autumn 2011. You can also listen to Peter Dale read from a number of his poems at the Poetry Archive.

Anvil Press, founded in 1968, is based in Greenwich, south-east London, in a building off Royal Hill that has been used at various points in its 150-year history as a dance-hall and a printing works. Anvil grew out of a poetry magazine which Peter Jay ran as a student in Oxford and retains its small company ethos.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.