Andrew Crumey

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Andrew Crumey studied theoretical physics and mathematics at St. Andrews University and Imperial College, and did postdoctoral research at Leeds University on nonlinear dynamics. He received Scotland's Saltire Prize for Best First Novel for Music, In a Foreign Language (1994). Other novels include Pfitz (1995), D'Alembert's Principle (1996) and Mr Mee (2000). He lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Music, In A Foreign Language by Andrew Crumey

In a cafe, once more I heard
Your voice - those sparse and frugal notes.
Do they not say that you spoke your native Greek
With an English accent?

Briefest of visions: eyes meet across the cafe;
A man of about my age - eyelids heavy,
Perhaps from recent pleasures.
I begin the most innocent of conversations.

Again I see that image;
Ancient delight of flesh
Against guiltless flesh.
Sweeter still, in its remembering.

Most innocent of conversations: once more, I am mistaken.
He leaves; the moment lost - and to forego
The squalor of this place, I read again your lines; those sparse and frugal notes.
In a taverna, you found beauty, long ago.

And when you draw, with your slim, swift pen
The image of that memory - time's patient hostage;
Then how can I forget him, that boy whom you could not forget,
Or that music, in a foreign language?
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