First Love

By Jan Owen b. 1940 Jan Owen

Titian’s Young Englishman with a Glove, circa 1530

It happened in Physics,
reading a Library art book under the desk,
(the lesson was Archimedes in the bath)
I turned a page and fell
for an older man, and anonymous at that,
hardly ideal –
he was four hundred and forty-five,
I was fourteen.
‘Eureka!’ streaked each thought
(I prayed no-one would hear)
and Paradise all term
was page 179
(I prayed no-one would guess).
Of course
my fingers, sticky with toffee and bliss,
failed to entice him from his century;
his cool grey stare
fastened me firmly in mine.
I got six overdues,
suspension of borrowing rights
and a D in Physics.
But had by heart what Archimedes proves.
Ten years later I married:
a European with cool grey eyes,
a moustache,
pigskin gloves.

Jan Owen, “First Love” text from Poems 1980-2008, John Leonard Press, 2008; audio from Laughing in Greek, Audio CD, 2011: by permission of River Road Press and the poet. Copyright © 2008, 2011 by Jan Owen.

Source: Poems 1980-2008 (John Leonard Press, 2008)


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Poet Jan Owen b. 1940

POET’S REGION Australia and Pacific

Subjects Youth, First Love, Infatuation & Crushes, Unrequited Love, Reading & Books, Sciences, School & Learning

Poetic Terms Free Verse