Tchaikovski’s Mistress

I pre­fer to think of you from afar and to hear you
speak in your music and share your feel­ings through it.

—Nade­jda von Meck

That was the best way;
to for­tify his art
held by her rou­ble sway
insis­tent miles apart

and to for­bid his hand,
his lips or ardent gaze
mate­ri­ally form
the pas­sion art conveys;

by this pos­sess such love
that no flesh could dis­grace
and unmo­lested feel
his celi­bate embrace

after his hands were dust,
by time left unbe­trayed,
still to her wast­ing breast
clasp what he made.




Nor­man Buller has been widely pub­lished in antholo­gies and jour­nals includ­ing, in the UK, Acu­men, Out­posts, The Interpreter’s House, The Lon­don Mag­a­zine, The Rialto, Cam­bridge Left and in the USA, The Cal­i­for­nia Quar­terly and The Com­stock Review. He has had two pre­vi­ous chap­books pub­lished, Thir­teen Poems (Fes­ti­val Pub­li­ca­tions, Queen’s Uni­ver­sity Belfast, 1965) and Trav­el­ling Light (Water­loo, 2005).