Tu Fu in Tufnell Park

First quarter moon in August haze.
The widowed poet
relaxing on the slatted bench
examines the night sky.
The wooden table
holds an empty wine bottle
and a glass.
Moonlight silvers the eucalyptus.

In the small hours
in the tiny, walled garden
he rubs the side of his nose,
his nails broken and black,
and notes backroom lights
going out the whole street long.
Police sirens in the distance.

Tu Fu mumbles verse and
smoothes his frayed suit.
From a nearby backyard come two wails
as the cat-skirmish night opens out.

Adele David

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