Squeezed onto the deck at the back
of a crowded Hammersmith pub,
our wobbling table overlooking the river
barely has enough room for two,
let alone the steak, linguine,
and our bottle of red.
We both take a drink, pausing to watch
a pair of scullers glide down the Thames,
the ripples created by their oars
sparkling in the late evening sun, leaving us
silently jealous of their synchronicity,
their movement so effortless.
I’d arrived early to make sure of a place
and you, with faux fluster, were fashionably late.
You’re a writer, a poet, published by Parthian!
Me? A programmer, far more prosaic.
And now with Dutch courage
I said I could do with some inspiration,
but even then the line felt weak.
It could never happen;
there was no connection –
no assonance, consonance, or wild alliteration.
We knew if we rhymed it would be forced and contrived;
we left as separate stanzas
texting with heads fogged by wine.
Years later I bought one of your slim volumes,
curious to see whether a poet might write
about bad dates and nights on the river,
looking for myself between convoluted lines.
Now that I write poems and do my own alliteration
I believe I have finally found inspiration,
so perhaps we did connect after all –
just with a subtler rhyme.