after Stanley Spencer, ‘The Resurrection: Reunion’, 1945
And suddenly they are streaming back from the dead,
their tombstones mere props for gossip
now the final day has come.
Only this is not the last day,
but the first of an eternal summer
where loss turns back into desire,
for what can match the pleasure of a kiss
on the tongue of those grown accustomed to tasting nothing?
Nothing more glorious for those whose senses were lost
than these arms around the loved one’s shoulder,
the conjugal embrace, the breasts
that never bruise with too much touching,
the heavy angels spilling out of windows and doors
to welcome them home.
This is what they dreamt of ascending to –
gardens, allotments, lamps pooling light over dinner.
This what they longed to recapture –
reaching round a chest that rises and falls,
the rapture of breath that doesn’t stop.
Flesh ripe with joy now they are touching again –
lovers, mothers, children, fathers, plumped-up wives –
in this light that is never switched off,
these bodies that cannot have enough of each other,
this love that is always being made.