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- Harry Mount, the London Telegraph


April 2009

Dream of a dead friend

by Christian Wiman

When the world was merely beautiful
And talk was keeping us from speech;
When the walk was almost over
And we were still just out of reach,
You closed my eyes
And led me by the hand
Through brush and low branches to stand
In the deep snow.

That cold was something I could feel.
That darkness was a choice.
Though I couldn’t see your face
I could hear your voice
Describe a sky
And a fine-needled pine tree,
A field, and snow, and you, and me.
Then you let go.

If I say the world is real
And outside my window is a dawn;
If I say the proof of love is grief
And trees are greener being gone,
Why, oh why
Will none of this be true
But in the moment I reach for you
Saying no, no.

Christian Wiman's most recent book is Every Riven Thing (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 27 April 2009, on page 29

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