Out of Danger

is the title of one of my favourite poetry collections, by James Fenton. It’s a substantial combination of personal politics and of the other kind of politics, the writing has a very clean, clear, hard and simple Auden-like beat. Fenton has spent time in south-east Asia, Cambodia, covering war and its fallout for the Independent newspaper. This is the title poem, which I can almost recite:

Out of Danger

Heart be kind and sign the release
As the trees their loss approve.
Learn as leaves must learn to fall
Out of danger, out of love.

What belongs to frost and thaw
Sullen winter will not harm.
What belongs to wind and rain
Is out of danger from the storm.

Jealous passion, cruel need
Betray the heart they feed upon.
But what belongs to earth and death
Is out of danger from the sun.

I was cruel, I was wrong –
Hard to say and hard to know.
You do not belong to me.
You are out of danger now –

Out of danger from the wind,
Out of danger from the wave,
Out of danger from the heart
Falling, falling out of love.

(1993)

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One Response to Out of Danger

  1. makemeadiva says:

    I like the comfort the symbolism and repetition offers the reader.

    I’ll read more of Mr Fenton.

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