The earliest of my Hypatia poems....
Last night I dreamed of the old woman scholar
With the wide, humorous mouth and fearless eyes.
She wears her hair like a young girl to the shoulder,
Gunmetal grey, tied with a velvet band.
I wanted you to meet her, dear. I said,
"This is my lover; this is my old friend.
I hope we three will be together always."
And afterwards, privately, to Hypatia
I said, "This is the third time we have met.
The first was when I saw you at the crossroads,
Hurrying past by night. Your back was turned
And I was so enamoured of illusion
I thought my life might be just such a dream
And that I'd find a lover in the image
I had of you, pre-Raphaelite and fey.
You know I paid for that- with eighteen years
Complete misapprehension. You kept clear
Until I trashed the dream. But then you came
To strengthen me, just at the point of crisis,
Still in the girlish shape I'd wished for you,
But older, more composed, the long hair cropped
And with a husband- whom I never saw-
Preparing me for the truth. Now that it's out
You are at last yourself, the clever woman
Who is amused by everything. I meet
The husband you kept hidden; his shot nerves
Are quietened by your cynical commonsense.
And you're amused at me and I'm not jealous.
How could I be? I know you are myself-
You and your husband- aspects of myself-
And what you mean is clear. I shall be faithful
To what I am and to the honest woman
Who lies beside me nightly- we'll grow old
Under the Pennine wall- and likewise faithful
To your remorseless scholarship, dear Hypatia."