Andrew Motion

Poet

Andrew Motion is Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College. University of London. He was Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009.

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Andrew Motion

Poet

With most of us asking the same questions, 
among them: did you receive this letter today 
or weeks or even months ago and produce it 
now to refresh your memory of what it says; 
is it a love letter, a letter from home, or lines 
from a friend you are happy to know is alive; 
who knitted that scarf untied round your neck, 
the only piece of non-regulation kit and a clue; 
is that a smile on your face or is it just the way 
your mouth curves when it is settled in repose; 
is it possible you never in fact received the letter 
but composed it and now are reading it through 
one last time before dropping it in the postbag; 
if so, is it a love letter, a letter from home, or lines 
to a friend who will be happy to know you alive; 
yes with most of us asking these same questions 
we forget to think this might not be a letter at all 
but a list of questions you have prepared for us, 
among them: what makes it possible to end now 
our conjectures and leave perfectly free and easy, 
heading into town or out to Oxford and the West, 
with it making no difference to anything apparently 
whether we notice you watching us or fail to notice. 

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