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Lay for the Day
13th December

The feast day of St Lucy, whose name means light – protectress of vision and of all who have to do with our eyes.


Look how the cat says yes
continually with its purr,
for half an hour
saying nothing but yes.

We’ve but the one short sound
in a moment gone, while the dumb
old patchwork tom
rests in affirmation.

Do they say the old man’s
lonely, perhaps, now his wife’s dead;
why not visit?
A kind of penance then

you do here, or duty;
or do you come of your own kind
thought? My half-blind
eye refracts your beauty.

Though born with a focus
so short that an inch from my nose
I recognise
only moving colours,

yours I like; and your voice,
though it’s late for me to relearn
your young concern,
just being young, is choice.

Don’t worry if the chat
falls flat. If I only had that
eloquent throat
I’d quote the cat’s one note.


John Gibbens
from Characters: One Life


The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar