Robert Stark

To Lisa, on her Sleeplessness

Robert Stark

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Ay, weary—a’ know it, luve—o’ fits

an’ stairts a’ night as if yr banes 

wer’nae right fit tae yr skin: & then

comes upon a thing hellblawn 

as puir Francesca Dante doom’d. 


What would a’ say to ye this morning

more than a’ h’ve said?  Yr no yersel’

ye tell me—an’ who is it that is?

Ye tell me that ye dinnae hae a heart

—but how ye feel it so.


Luve is sic an easy word

ye say—there’s nae doubtin’

we shouldn’ay be repeatin it:

but actions tell us tae oursel’s;

can words no be coincident?


Howsoe’er it be this morning

dinnae fash.  Ye haud on tae this

self-rancor o’er much: nae man

or wumman was made virtue

nor grace, there isnae sic a thing


as fause luve so the aim be true.

An’ as for you: you clesp this 

blazin’ coal in the palm o’ yer haun’

an’ wilnae relent: yr no insane

juist wearit wi’ the world’s crave.


Lang syne y’h’ve haud it; ach but really

’s it that hings tae you—electro

magnetic like embrace o’ fire, gresping

as e’er the mechanisms o’ lust

or fash, or yr palm’s puir reflex.


A hear the experts use the outwith 

o’ their haund tae testit heat, that way

instinct draws back, fingers close 

on naething: so might you risk

a downed & tender for a calloused touch.  


Robert Stark


Robert Stark is the author of A Middle North (some poems) and Ezra Pound's Early Verse and Lyric Tradition: A Jargoner's Apprenticeship (about some poems).  He lives in Paris with Jack, the worlds best-travelled English Cocker Spaniel.  

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