Love Letter – A Poem by Rowe Williams

In my hands is a book.
Mostly of poems.
The cover of the book is about half picture,
rectangular, and half writing that forms
an uneven L to frame it.

The picture shows a poet, now dead.
So significant a man that his name
is larger on the cover than the title.

I stare at Seamus Heaney, who gazes
sharply, intently, perceptively
at something in the distance
that I cannot see.

In this picture he is old, white hair
perfectly unkempt, dark-grey brows
sitting lightly over craggle-eyes.
The bottom of his face
appears smooth despite its age, save
two lines traced deeply in thought
from upper nostril flare to a position
just wide of the corner of his mouth.

Hiding chin and indenting cheek is his
right hand, only slightly bony, placed
in the classic position
of thought, evaluation, and assessment.

It is a handsome face, but on this
cover, as it must have been in life, it
conceals the true beauty
of the man who wears it.

The mind that saw what no one else could.
The heart that knew exactly what it meant, and
how to make our hearts know it, too.
The love that drove him to let us in on the secret.

The picture shows a poet, now dead.
But his heart beats on, in these pages.
And in our chests.

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