By Stephen Romer

Une seconde fois perdue! Nerval

Chimeras, firegirls, there’s another one now –
blouse Bellini green, a trompe-l’oeil hairgrip
on her chignon, showing a lost domain –
one of your tribe – my familiar, scarecrow,

la guigne stamped on your Russian brow …
No sooner seen, than translated starwards.
She would set you wandering, your orphaned
twin: the prince and princess of sorrow.

Lost and found and lost again – when will it stop?
You were looking elsewhere, at a woodland wraith,
When your chance of happiness married the baker.
My fabulous hairgrip is leaving the shop –

I bequeath her to your legendary worship.
Eyes front, head down, I go my narrow way –
But what if she were the one? – I never spoke!
– and so on, and so on, to the end of the rope.

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