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By George Szirtes b. 1948 George Szirtes
Were I to fall in love all over again, it would be
with this low ceiling, with the calm  faces
of  the two men going about their craft,
and with her, now twisting towards them,
beautiful, defiant and free.

Because we forget how beauty was once itself
and nothing else, how it held its stellar
moment in attic and cellar.

Because that is what beauty is, this compact
with time and the silence of  concentration
on one subversive operation,

that requires courage and sacrifice
and never comes without a price.

Source: Poetry (February 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2008
 George  Szirtes


George Szirtes was born in Hungary and emigrated to England with his parents—survivors of concentration and labor camps—after the 1956 Budapest uprising.

Szirtes studied painting at Harrow School of Art and Leeds College of Art and Design. At Leeds he studied with Martin Bell, who encouraged Szirtes as he began to develop his poetic themes: an engaging mix of British individualism and European fluency in myth, fairy tale, and . . .

Continue reading this biography

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SUBJECT Living, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries


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