Anglo-American poet Anne Stevenson was born in Cambridge and brought up and educated in Michigan, she returned to the UK in 1954. She has published numerous volumes of poetry, including Granny Scarecrow, The Collected Poems, 1955-1995, and Correspondences. Stevenson is also author of two critical studies of Elizabeth Bishop and a biography of the American poet Sylvia Plath, Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath 1989. This is:
AFTER THE END OF IT
By Anne Stevenson
You gave and gave,
And now you say you’re poor.
I’m in your debt, you say,
And there’s no way to repay you
But by my giving more.
Your pound of flesh is what you must have?
Here’s what I’ve saved.
This sip of wine is yours,
This sieve of laughter. Yours,
Too, these broken haloes
From my cigarette, these coals
That flicker when the salt wind howls
And the letter box blinks like a loud
Eyelid over the empty floor.
I’ll send this, too, this gale between rains,
This wild day. Its cold so cold
I want to break it into panes
Like new ice on a pond; then pay it
Pain by pain to your account.
Let it freeze us both into some numb country!
Giving and taking might be the same there.
A future of measurement and blame
Gone in a few bitter minutes.