Pete Atkin sings
Shadow And The Widower

by Clive James and Pete Atkin,
from The Road Of Silk

[Much more at]


As we left each other on our final night
And I walked away with all the love remaining
A classic whisper near the station wall
I could just hear without straining
Asked if I was scared to realise this was all
Disappointed there was only this much in it
The perfume and suppliance of a minute?
It was him - the Shadow and the Widower

There's that all right, I said, and so much more
An hour of life inside a world of dying
A wider limit set to one's regard
The kinder forms of lying
And beyond all that the privilege of a memory scarred
In prettier ways than most, perhaps than any
Such a fate must seem desirable to many
Even you, the Shadow and the Widower

The classic laughter echoed near the wall
A strip torn from a three-sheet stirred and fluttered
The whisper said, Well don't that just beat all
What this oracle hath uttered?
A straight-up scalp-collector I could understand
All those lineaments of gratified desire
But he's handing me that old refining fire
This to me, the Shadow and the Widower

          The whisper moved with me into the light
          Where the access tunnel ran beneath the tracks
          The wind searched for a way back to the night
          But no romance, no lonely alto sax
          Just litter and the notes left for the blacks
          The graffiti stopped your pulse like heart attacks

To perdition with that rarefied regret
Those half-remembered ladies swathed in yearning
Said the whisper just an inch behind my head
The world is burning
And the tales of love fit for the guiltless dead
Will have little in them of the airs and graces
With which your tender soul goes through its paces
Commit that to your fragrant memory
And while you're doing that, remember me
The Shadow and the Widower