I take a jewel from a junk-shop tray
And wish I had a love to buy it for.
Nothing I choose will make you turn my way.
Nothing I give will make you love me more.
I know that I’ve embarrassed you too long
And I’m ashamed to linger at your door.
Whatever I embark on will be wrong.
Nothing I do will make you love me more.
I cannot work. I cannot read or write.
How can I frame a letter to implore.
Eloquence is a lie. The truth is trite.
Nothing I say will make you love me more.
So I replace the jewel in the tray
And laughingly pretend I’m far too poor.
Nothing I give, nothing I do or say,
Nothing I am will make you love me more.
I think James Fenton is a wonderful poet and this is my favourite of his poems. I just think it is so beautiful and touching and sad and true.
Reviewed by Emily Ardagh