Rereading Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Bliss and Other Stories’

Douglas Dunn

A pressed fly, like a skeleton of gauze,
Has waited here between page 98
And 99, in the story called ‘Bliss’,
Since the summer of ’62, its date,

Its last day in a trap of pages. Prose
Fly, what can ‘Je ne parle pas français’ mean
To you who died in Scotland, when I closed
These two sweet pages you were crushed between?

Here is a green bus-ticket for one week
In May, my place-mark in ‘The Dill Pickle’.
I did not come home that Friday. I flick
Through all our years, my love; and I love you still.

These stories must have been inside my head
That day, falling in love, preparing this
Good life; and this, this fly, that’s sepulchred
In words, one dry tear punctuating ‘Bliss’.