Love, our days are numbered now,
a shrinking orbit we will know
beneath the summer, till, my dear
we find ourselves alone with fear.
You will shiver by my side
half in hunger, half allayed,
and tremble as my madman cries
shuffling in his cell of sighs.
Outside the notorious world will turn
vermilion, as the eras burn.
The dazzle of the stars will die
beyond our griefs, invisibly.
O in the mansion of our arms
we’ll live and die. The loud alarms
to other ears may sound their drum
but not to ours. And when the bomb
shines through the curtain of your hair,
be not afraid, my darling,
for time shall be kinder then to us and,
in his killing, stoop to bless.
Alan Riddell (1927–77) was an Australian-born Scottish poet, artist and journalist who is mainly remembered for his concrete poems, as well as the Scottish poetry magazine he founded, Lines. His best-known books are Eclipse and Typewriter Art.