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Two poems by Charles Hughes

Lawyer turned poet

Charles Hughes
Charles Hughes

Arthur and Guenevere in the Dark

  • It’s possible she loves him less today
  • Than yesterday. Could be he’s changed. Could be
  • He’s failed to. Maybe — hypothetically —
  • She’s been transported by another love.
  • He knows what he’s afraid of but can’t say:
  • A king — a good king — must remain above
  • All cowardice and bullying. It’s late.
  • The King and Queen lie side by side and wide
  • Awake. The rising night will not elide
  • His daily doubts; she works the miracle.
  • Touching his cheek, she says, “I love you.” Fate —
  • Sensing uncertainty — tempers its chill.
  • He’ll sleep more peacefully than he’s slept in weeks.
  • Again she says, “I love you.” And again.
  • He’s breathing in her words like oxygen.
  • He’ll sleep — he’ll dream — until the morning speaks.

The Window

  • for Bunny on our 40th wedding anniversary
  • Simon and Garfunkel are singing out
  • Somebody else’s window into mine.
  • The day is a fall feast, the song red wine
  • Matched well with what the dying colors shout.
  • Love lives, love dies in “April Come She Will.”
  • The song will end. Your dorm is not too far.
  • We’ll walk to supper. Death will seem bizarre —
  • That love itself could die impossible.
  • The first, sparse yellows seasoning the grass
  • Recall the moment of our college days,
  • When music, turning leaves, sharp outside air
  • Lent death a real presence it still has
  • For me — it’s been my long-budding malaise,
  • Which time has shown won’t flower while you are there.

Charles Hughes is the author of the poetry collection, Cave Art (Wiseblood Books, 2014). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in America, the Anglican Theological Review, The Christian Century, Dappled Things, First Things, the Iron Horse Literary Review, Measure, The Rotary Dial, the Sewanee Theological Review, Think Journal, and elsewhere. He worked as a lawyer for 33 years before his retirement. He lives with his wife in the Chicago area.

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Charles Hughes
Charles Hughes

Arthur and Guenevere in the Dark

  • It’s possible she loves him less today
  • Than yesterday. Could be he’s changed. Could be
  • He’s failed to. Maybe — hypothetically —
  • She’s been transported by another love.
  • He knows what he’s afraid of but can’t say:
  • A king — a good king — must remain above
  • All cowardice and bullying. It’s late.
  • The King and Queen lie side by side and wide
  • Awake. The rising night will not elide
  • His daily doubts; she works the miracle.
  • Touching his cheek, she says, “I love you.” Fate —
  • Sensing uncertainty — tempers its chill.
  • He’ll sleep more peacefully than he’s slept in weeks.
  • Again she says, “I love you.” And again.
  • He’s breathing in her words like oxygen.
  • He’ll sleep — he’ll dream — until the morning speaks.

The Window

  • for Bunny on our 40th wedding anniversary
  • Simon and Garfunkel are singing out
  • Somebody else’s window into mine.
  • The day is a fall feast, the song red wine
  • Matched well with what the dying colors shout.
  • Love lives, love dies in “April Come She Will.”
  • The song will end. Your dorm is not too far.
  • We’ll walk to supper. Death will seem bizarre —
  • That love itself could die impossible.
  • The first, sparse yellows seasoning the grass
  • Recall the moment of our college days,
  • When music, turning leaves, sharp outside air
  • Lent death a real presence it still has
  • For me — it’s been my long-budding malaise,
  • Which time has shown won’t flower while you are there.

Charles Hughes is the author of the poetry collection, Cave Art (Wiseblood Books, 2014). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in America, the Anglican Theological Review, The Christian Century, Dappled Things, First Things, the Iron Horse Literary Review, Measure, The Rotary Dial, the Sewanee Theological Review, Think Journal, and elsewhere. He worked as a lawyer for 33 years before his retirement. He lives with his wife in the Chicago area.

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