Petersen: Kleichen and a Man

By George Szirtes b. 1948 George Szirtes
I have seen eternity and it is like this,
a man and woman dancing in a bar
in a poor street on an unswept floor.

It clings and plots and is desperate,
at a point between violence and abjection,
between warmth and agoraphobic fear.

Let me reverse this and accept the fear.
Let me drop all objections to abjection,
since life itself  is desperate

and has to tread the unswept floor
carefully, lovingly, while the bar
hovers in eternity. Like this.

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

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Men & Women


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