Macedonia 1987

by Wendy Cope

A little crowd had gathered in the square.
We read our poems and they were polite.
Then there was dinner in the open air
Outside the castle. A warm summer night.
The local bigwigs lit up their cigars
And asked us for a song, and, straight away,
You stood. I see you underneath the stars.
I hear your voice. I hear it to this day.
I too can sing but I am English, so,
Although I wanted to, I didn’t dare.
And still, though that was twenty years ago,
A male voice singing German takes me there.
Bach and Schubert won’t let me forget
That evening, five days after we first met.