memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Posts tagged ‘love’

Her pilgrim soul



When I was young I greatly admired the poem When You Are Old by William Butler Yeats, the middle verse of which I quote:

How many loved your glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true;

But one loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

Now I’m getting to be quite old myself and well, it has more meaning for me and I still like it.



Or to put it another way

Or to put in another way (in Afrikaans)

Ek het jou lief

Or to put it another way (in Arabic)


Or to put it another way (in Cantonese)

Ngor oi ley

Or to put another way (in Dutch)

Ik hou van je

Or to put another way (in Gaelic)

Tha gradh agam ort

Or to put it another way (in Hebrew)

Ani ohev otach

Or to put it another way (in Hindi)

Mai tumha pyar karta hu

Or to put it another way (in Japanese)

Aishite imasu

Or to put it another way (in Lithuanian)

As tave myliu

Or to put it another way (in Romanian)

Te ubesc

Or to put another way (in Russian)

Ya tebya lyublyu

Or to put it another way (in Thai)

Phom Rak Khun

Or to put it another way (in Urdu)

mi-an aap say piyar karta hun

Or in just plain English

I love you

Going sailing

She sheered off

Heeled over

Slanting away to leeward

Wind-taut sail

Cutting through the rippling water

Accelerating smoothly

Elegant and beautiful

Her gurgling hull

Leaning gracefully into

The pea-green seas.


He stood on the sloping deck

Balancing easily on bare feet

He could feel

The living ship

The thrust of her

The song the of the wind

In her rigging

She was his


She was his



The touch of love

At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet


I am an atom

A child of Chaos

Inhabiting now a wisp of gas

Now a chip of matter

Travelling for countless billions of years

Riding the star-crowded waves of the cosmos

I have witnessed extraordinary things

I have seen the birth of wondrous worlds and their demise

Flicked casually aside – the butt-ends of space

Thus I voyaged through the universe until I reached this place.


I was a tiny worm wriggling deep in the mud of the restless ocean.

I was a clam clamped to the wave-washed rock

Refusing to give up my secret.

I was one of the first marsupials to heave myself out the water onto the newly-formed land

Waddling with my fins up the primordial sands.

l loped and crouched semi-sapient and half-erect through the dark forests.

I was eyeless at the wheel toiling blindly with slaves.

I was one of the drunken Frankish knights who entered Jerusalem wading waist-high in


I flew point in a V formation of wild geese flying across the Canadian uplands.

I was an eagle quartering the dizzy sky scanning the earth with my piercing eyes

Before diving onto my terrified prey.

I was a pearl diver, plunging down with my weight-stone into the murky green depths,

Forever seeking that glittering prize.


I was the leopard prowling

The rain-drenched gats

Of the Carnatic


I was a drop of dew

Garnered at dawn

In the Western Sands.


I was the blade

That pierced the side

Of the suffering prophet.


I was with my forebears

Crouched on the duck-boards

Of a Celtic-green trench.


I was the banner flouting

The northern sky

Fanning our people cold


I beat the warm thermals

With my featherless wings

I, Icarus, fell.

After the Fall

You talk the talk but can you walk the walk?

Well, the simple answer to that one is no, actually.

The ambulatory skill left me abruptly

(it must be oh, what, seven years ago now? yes, easily seven years, if not eight).

I fell.

And what a fall was there my countrymen, and most of my dreams fell with me.

It was a fall from grace.

(Still, not to worry, eh, mustn’t grumble; things could be a lot worse I suppose …)

Here’s old Bob Dylan who put in a nutshell:

«We sit here stranded, though we’re doing our best to deny it.»


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