Rosemary in Provence

Elaine Feinstein

We stopped the Citroen at the turn of the lane,
because you wanted a sprig of blue rosemary
to take home, and your coat opened awkwardly

as you bent over. Any stranger would have seen
your frail shoulders, the illness
in your skin - our holiday on the Luberon

ending with salmonella -
but what hurt me, as you chose slowly,
was the delicacy of your gesture:

the curious child, loving blossom
and mosses, still eager
in your disguise as an old man.

Written in 1997, when her husband, the molecular biologist Arnold Feinstein, would have been 70, this is one of many poems the poetess wrote about her husband, including the touching collection at her posthumous web site.