In a Restaurant

Alan Brownjohn

The facing mirrors showed two rooms
Which rhymed and balanced beautifully,
So everything we wore and ate
Shone doubly clear for you and me.

In the next image after that
Life seemed the same in every way:
Green bottles and white tablecloths
And cutlery as clean as day;

But in the third, things looked a mite
Less brilliant than in the first two ...
A sort of mist was falling on
The features of a dwindling view,

And by the time our gaze had gone
Searching down to rooms eight and nine,
The world seemed darker, and confused,
Its outlines harder to define,

Its faces tinier. There, instead
Of warmth and clarity, and bright
Colours for everything, we saw
A shadow land, a listless light

Which neither of us understood:
A place so closed and small and black
It nearly hurt, smiling, gripping
Our glasses harder, coming back.