I wasn’t expecting you to fall in love again
With me, that day I rang with tickets to Verona.
It’s just I knew you loved the opera:
So did I, and the festival
Was far too good an opportunity to pass.
We fenced a courtly distance through piazzas,
The streets with gliding intimacy, the stone
So warm and honey tan.
Your eyes averted from the balcony
Where Juliet lamented to a spice-filled night.
Looking back, it probably wasn’t my greatest-ever notion
To take you to see the obsessed lover
Double-cross the letters,
Fill with cruel bullets,
His straw man, the artist, a poor painter of scenes.
But I just wanted you to hear when background music
Set up to depict the world has to give way,
A silver thread of sound,
A clarinet sentinel,
Gently parts the veil to climb to dreams and rapture.
So, at midnight, the performance finally over,
We walked to old hotels through star-bathed lanes,
Our hands a set distance apart
Like the conductor daring not to twitch
Or breathe, in case the music runs from his control.
Andrew Nowell studied English literature at University College London where he completed an MA in Shakespeare and the Renaissance. Now a journalist working for a local newspaper, he is also looking to break into creative writing and poetry. He lives in Wigan.