Adrian Henri

(10 April 1932 - 20 December 2000 / Birkenhead, Cheshire)

Poem in Memoriam T. S. Eliot


I'd been out the night before & hadn't seen the papers or the telly
& the next day in a café someone told me you were dead
And it was as if a favourite distant uncle had died
old hands in the big strange room/new shiny presents at Christmas
and I didn't know what to feel.

For years I measured out my life with your coffee spoons

Your poems on the table in dusty bed sitters
Playing an L.P. of you reading on wet interrupted January afternoons

Meanwhile, back at the Wasteland:
Maureen OHara in a lowcut dress staggers across Rhyl sandhills
Lovers in Liverpool pubs eating passion fruit
Reading Alfred de Vigny in the lavatory
Opening an old grand piano and finding it smelling of curry
THE STAR OF INDIA FOUND IN A BUS STATION
Making love in a darkened room hearing an old woman having a fit on the landing
The first snowflakes of winter falling on her Christmas poem for me in Piccadilly Gardens
The first signs of spring in plastic daffodils
on city counters

Lovers kissing
Rain fallin

Dogs running
Night falling
And you `familiar compound spirit' moving silently down Canning St in a night of rain and fog.

Submitted: Monday, May 16, 2011
Edited: Monday, May 16, 2011

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