Nocturne – Anthony Watts

Perfection buried its head in the full moon

Anthony Watts has been writing ‘seriously’ for over 40 years. He has won prizes and had poems published in magazines and anthologies. His latest collection is Stiles . Anthony’s main interests are poetry, music and walking.


Birdlike, with busy beaks,

Two voices made a nest in the telephone – 

Pointing and smoothing far into the night – 

A nest of words to hatch perfection in.

With an effortless compulsion, this labour of love

Carried them out beyond tiredness and midnight,

Interweaving anxious threads of guilt

With reassurances of secrecy,

Slicking down tufts of doubt. . . yet still

The nest, all littered with ifs and buts, remained

Untenanted, the cuckoo would not come.

Perfection buried its head in the full moon,

Whose stubborn penny would not drop but simply

Continued to charm her curtains and to gild his kiosk

And as their purchased seconds clocked up a bill,

Neither would be the last to say goodnight

Or the first to hang up, so loath were they to abandon

A job half-done – though it would never be done.

Now they have forgotten whose hand it was,

Replacing the receiver like a lid – 

But gently, gently on the woven nest – 

Restored the night to silence, nor recall

To whom the dialling-tone’s unbroken purr,

Recloseted abruptly in its niche,

Told of the waveless ether’s self-content – 

Untroubled by intercourse of human hearts

Or fret of words like starlings on the wire.

Anthony Watts, Taunton

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