The Bandaged Shoulder Hidden
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He said he’d hurt himself on a wall, or had fallen,
but no doubt there was some other reason
for the wound, for the bandaged shoulder.
 
He was reaching up to the shelf for a photograph
he wanted to look at more closely
when the bandage came undone. A little blood ran.
 
I did it up for him again, taking far too much time
over the binding;  he wasn’t in pain,
and – to be honest – I liked looking at the blood.
That blood. It was all part of my love.
 
When he left, I found a strip torn from the bandage
under his chair, a rag I should have thrown
straight in the trash – but I picked up and raised it to my lips,
and kept there a long while:
his blood on my lips, O my love, my love’s blood.

Translated by Don Paterson

(Don Paterson, Landing Light, Faber and Faber, 2003)

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard