Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I've finished! I've finished!

I have mentioned on and off that I have been writing a romantic novel, and it is with great relief that I have finally finished it. I have been attempting to write novels for the last eight years, but between childrearing, freelancing, running marathons etc, writing always gets a back seat. So I tend to write in spurts, and my poor heroine has spent most of the last two years being left languishing all over the place - either the hero's about to her kiss her and she's standing there waiting, or he's just disappeared off on holiday without a by your leave and it's taken me six months to get back and sort them both out.

Actually, considering everything else that's been going on, I suppose two years in the telling isn't too bad. Goodness, I might be able to manage a book every six months if I had the time... OTOH, knowing me, procastinator extraordinaire that I am, if I had more time, I would probably wittle it away somehow and end up taking longer.

I set myself a rather knotty problem with this book as well. I took my inspiration from some allotments at the back of our house, and it's where my hero and heroine meet and spend most of their time. I also took inspiration from Radio 2 which I have on constantly, so a kind of recurring theme is that the radio is like a friend in the kitchen.

I started off heavily using radio references, but cut them back because as in all contemporary fiction, things date so quickly. And I nearly came very badly unstuck as my heroine was dancing to the Cruisin' tracks on Drivetime at one point (something I used to do when I was cooking the tea), and then to my consternation the wonderful Johnny Walker left and Chris Evans took over, and Cruisin' was axed. As my heroine dancing in the kitchen was a fairly pivotal moment for her making up with the hero again, I was loth to lose it. But luckily Chris Evans has come up trumps with You Choose the Tracks on Friday evenings. Phew...

Another difficulty I had was that I've always found music really inspiring and helpful in the creative process something common to lots of my writing friends. One in particular, Elizabeth Chadwick uses rock music to great effect when writing her wonderful mediaeval historical novels. (For a great explanation of how she does it go to:

I decided for this novel I wanted to use six songs to reflect the themes of each section of the book.

The first was easy. Forever Autumn by Justin Hayward. My heroine arrives in a new town, heart battered and bruised by the death of her partner in a bike accident. She thinks she can never love again, and that for her it will always be forever autumn. It was relatively easy to work in references to golden leaves/walking in the woods etc (quoting verbatim from songs is very costly and to be avoided), but getting across her sense of loss/generating the emotion the song provokes in me was much harder, and I have no idea if I have succeeded or not.

The second part is entitled Such A Winter's Day. My heroine has now met the hero and several other characters, and California Dreaming is the theme tune here. My hero is being pulled back to his past lover who has gone out to California, while being attracted to the heroine, but will it always be a winter's day for her? She meanwhile has developed a chink in her armour, and is starting to see the sunlight poking through. For the first time since I've been a writer, my characters took control at this point and insisted on kissing each other at the end of the section, which wasn't quite what I had in mind for them.

Part three is called Soak up the Sun, from a Sheryl Crowe song of the same name. The hero/heroine have a misunderstanding as he disappears off skiing without telling her, just at the point where she has decided Sheryl is right and she should lighten up. The point when they make up is when he finds her dancing to Sheryl Crowe in the kitchen. There is such a brilliant line about not having what you want, but wanting what you've got which is perfect for my heroine's tentative steps towards her new life.

Part four is based on a Texas song, Here Comes the Summer's Son, and again, it was listening to a specific line (about reconsidering before the lover takes the singer's heart, and opening a door and going through) that just naturally slotted in to what I was thinking for my heroine. She is on the verge of entrusting her fledgling new heart to the hero, and then his ex pitches up out of the blue and causes trouble. By the end of this section, the hero and heroine are at odds, as she thinks she can't trust him.

Part five - is possibly the least successful, so I may change it. This was again because my characters didn't do things the way I wanted them to. I needed a major character, who the heroine is very close to, firstly to be ill (as a means of bringing the hero and heroine back together again) and then die, but he persistently refused to die till part six! The song I've chosen is Sing by Travis. The singer talks about the love he brings meaning nothing, unless she sings. He also talks about her being so low/crying etc and it seemed to me about those times when however much you love someone, you can't help them when they are in pain. My heroine isn't quite into the height of her suffering here, so I may have to rethink it!

Part Six's theme is Fix You, a wonderful achingly haunting tune from Coldplay. My character dies here instead, and my heroine takes it as a sign that everyone she loves dies/leaves her and so she runs away from the hero, who has taken the view that life is too short and they should get married. He wants to fix her, take her pain away, but can do nothing. Until the end of course, when (using the song again) he guides her by candlelight to where he is waiting for her, and finally she can let go of her past.

It was damned hard work trying to convey the emotions I was after, and I have no idea whether or not it's worked, but at least I've done it. And now it's with my agent and I have to bite my nails till I find out if this will be another one to bite the dust or not...

Still, while I'm waiting I am thinking out the plot of my next book: about a dentist who gets sued by a Z list celebrity. (No prizes for guessing where that inspiration came from - though the suing bit I got out of listening to the Jeremy Vine show - yes, yes, I know, I am sadly obsessed with Radio 2, but I need something to keep me out of trouble).

And I have my first theme tune already: The Miracle of Love by the Eurythmics, for when my hero and heroine get it together for the first time. I have a whole scene playing out in my head, like watching a film at the moment.

Sometimes, it is so great being a writer. Even an unpublished one....

Little Creatures

Some months ago, if you were paying attention, you may remember me waxing lyrical about the joys of growing our own veg. That was of course before we had a heatwave, a hosepipe ban and I got tied up with end of term itis.

As a result Spouse has nobly been watering our produce for months now, by dint of connecting four waterbutts in a line he has managed in the main to keep on top of things but it has been hard going at times. There has been many an evening when he has emerged from the bottom of the garden, black with grime and dust, muttering imprecations against Thames Water, snails, slugs and yours truly for being the inspiration behind the garden, but never doing any of the work. The latter part is true, but the trouble is when I get involved in the garden, everything else goes to pot.

Witness the other week, when I decided that as it was so hot and we can't have the paddling pool out, I would water the garden by dint of getting the kids to have a water fight in the vegetable patch. So I got them all lined up in their swimming cossies and they spent a happy hour chucking buckets of water at each other. Not much got watered, but at least they were cool. I then spent another hour or so watering everything properly, before I realised everyone was now so filthy that they had to go in the bath, and the louse problem is still so huge I then had to nit check heads. I also picked three lettuces which were about to seed, and lots of fruit. So by the time Spouse arrived home, I was still in the middle of tea, the sink was full of lettuce and all hell was breaking loose.

Not least, because now the fruits of his labours are coming good, I am discovering the downside to growing your own, is that you inevitably bring some friends in from the garden with you. I am not generally squeamish about little creatures, but there's something about soaking the raspberries and watching the insects swimming for their lives, not waving but drowning, that fills me with horror. I was equally aghast, when I turned round to wash the lettuce and nearly jumped out of my skin to see a snail sitting on the tap looking at me. I found a caterpillar making a break for it across the cooker the other day, having had a narrow escape from Death by Drowning in Boiling Broccoli.

Not only that, but thanks to the headlice problem, I have to do a daily check of the little creatures living in my children's heads. There too, I am not too wussy till a get a big one...

On the other hand, the upside of all this gardening malarkey means we have been dining of our own lettuce for weeks, we have managed to grow heaps of broccoli which I am blanching and freezing as quick as we can pick it, so we should have a steady supply in the winter, and for the first time ever we seem to have produced some reasonable carrots. Our potatoes are nearly ready for digging, our beetroot is about to be pickled, and the tomatoes are bursting forth with ripeness. We have made blackcurrant and plum jam, and I have loads of raspberries and loganberries frozen for use in the winter. When I was younger I would have sneered at such industry, but I have to confess, while I doubt I'll ever be a full blown member of the WI, I do find something immensely satisfying about cooking with food we've grown ourselves, especially as it tastes so good.

All I need now is a few chickens and a pig....

Friday, July 07, 2006

Remembering 7/7

This blog is usually quite light-hearted, but I felt I couldn't let today pass without some comment.

This time a year ago I was on a school trip with no 2. We had set off to a nature reserve not far from home, and the talk among the mums was of how fantastic it was that we had won the Olympics.

I had forgotten to take my mobile and had made rather a complicated arrangement with my then nanny to pick no 4 up from nursery. Wanting to check that she had got into the house ok, I rang home at 11.30, which was the first I heard about the trouble in London. I can't say I was surprised - something was bound to happen sooner or later, and I think it is only by the grace of the security services that we haven't had more attacks - but I was shocked. I have lived in London most of my life, growing up with the threat of terrorism from the IRA, but this, this felt different. Bombs in the underground must be everyone's worst nightmare, and a year on, all I can think is how lucky it was that more people weren't killed, although, of course, every person who died is one too many.

My nanny's second words were, You're sister's ok. As the sister in question lives in Derbyshire and I hadn't known she was even in London, so it was a bit of a shock. It took me all day to track her down, but at least I knew she was safe.

I was the first to hear about the bombs, so discreetly told the teacher who rang the school. At lunchtime the adults huddled together in subdued groups, ringing husbands to check where they were. Living so close to London, everyone had someone who could potentially be caught up in the day's events. But fortunately, we were all among the lucky ones.

On 9/11 I watched the whole thing unfold, which was horrid and ghastly, but at least I knew what was happening. Being stuck in a wood with a bunch of seven year olds and knowing nothing was worse.

We got back to the playground eventually, by which time I was clocking all the people I could possibly think of who could have been in London that day, and thankfully, I saw most of them at school. I couldn't believe what difference a day could make. We had been so elated about the Olympics and now people were shocked, frightened, worried.

Even on the very fringes - my sister was at Liverpool Street and chucked off a mainline train just before one of the bombs went off - it was a scary and terrifying experience. And unfortunately, though my instincts are usually to stick two fingers up at the cowardly bastards who do this kind of thing, I did find myself avoiding London last summer. Had I been working there I would have had to go in, but risk my children? I don't think so.

A year on, and we seem no nearer to solving the problems that seem to breed this kind of unreasoning brutality. Sometimes I wonder if we ever will.

But we should always remember those who died, and work towards building bridges in our communities, so the actions of the few don't scar the lives of the many. And so that the victims haven't died in vain.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Summer Term Blues

If you're paying attention (and let's face it, why wouldn't you?), you might have noticed that my posts have been a bit sporadic of late. The reason for this is doublefold, I have been in the process of finishing my wip. And finally - two years after I started, I have got there. Allotted Time is done and dusted. Well, sort of. I have lots of revisons to do before sending it to my agent, but I should get it off this week.

The second reason, and really the more overwhelming one is that this is the summer term. And life has just been - well - mad...

After half term I thought I had seven lovely weeks in which to plough through all the work I have to get through before the summer holidays, including aforementioned novel. Seven glorious weeks, to work I thought. I couldn't wait. It was going to be fabulous.

As if.

Week 1 was my own fault, as I made the mistake of launching my book then, and it took over rather.

Week 2 I was still busy post-launch, plus overtaken by sudden inertia and suddenly Week 3 was upon me.

Week 3 I lost a day to a prior engagement made eons ago back in the mists of time when I thought that I had a long lazy summer to look forward to. I also got hit by a stinking cold/cough which wiped me out.

However the good news was I got a weekend off, as Spouse took the sprogs camping and I had a blissful day at the Sanctuary with my mad twin, which was my birthday present from last year. Our birthday is fast approaching and we hadn't got round to organising it before. I wonder why not...

Week 4 is when it started to get interesting. No 3 had Sports Day on the Monday - which was also her birthday. Was mightily relieved when a downpour meant it was cancelled and I had time to get on and make her birthday cake etc. However, this meant that Sports Day was now on Tuesday, at lunchtime necessitating a half day's work for me. 1pm seems a daft time to have Sports Day to me, particularly in the heat we've been having of late, and no 3 was flaking most of the way round. Not least because her team was pretty rubbish (always the way with my offpsring), and they lost every event.

Sports Day at her school is severely non-competitive. Two opposing teams, split into groups of ten go round the field in opposite directions, attempting ten events. Each group that wins gets ten points and the loser gets five. Miraculously, year after year even when one team is storming ahead, there is a draw at the end. We were fully expecting the same this year, but the other team (who by all accounts were well in the lead) won by 5 points. Hmm, a fix methinks???

At the end I severely disgraced myself by jumping up and down like a looney as no 3's team just managed to win their last event, much to the amusement of a mum I didn't know (I do now though - the shame) who has evidently labelled me as Competitive Mum of the Year. Just as well Spouse wasn't there, he would have been mortified.

On Friday I had to remember to pack a packed lunch for no 3 as she was going to Hever Castle. I should have attended her birthday assembly at school, but no 2 had a class assembly which I had to go to instead. I therefore rearranged no 3's birthday assembly for the following week only to discover that no 4 was doing a play at 9.30... aagh.

As we were getting ready for school no 1 wanted to know if she could have a friend back to play. Given that I was preparing both for No 3's birthday party the next day and I had to get up at 7 to get to Guildford to be interviewed on Southern Counties Radio, the answer was a resounding no. Which was just as well as five minutes later another mum rang me to ask what time the school quiz finished. What school quiz? The one they're doing after school today....

Saturday was just about one of the maddest days of my life. I got up at 7 with a raging hangover, and feeling knackered as the heat had meant I hadn't slept. I don't know why anyone wants to be famous, if it means getting up this time on a Saturday, muttered Spouse. I drove down to Guildford and did my piece (huge thanks due here to the wonderful Sally James and Fred Marden who made me feel very at home and gave me a lovely plug for my book), before setting off home at breakneck speed to ice a mermaid cake. Nothing like keeping your feet on the ground...

Then it was the usual ballet run mania. I escaped home at 11.30am - in a monumental piece of bad planning I had originally arranged the party in the middle of the footie, so had to pull it forward to 1pm. Which if you have children you will know is horribly early for a party, particularly when you've organised a radio interview the same day...

I was still writing clues for the treasure hunt (the theme was pirates and mermaids) as people arrived, but it all seemed to go well. You know it's a success when at the end of the party the four pirates have to be physically manhandled off the fort/climbing frame...

Then it was a case of knuckling down to watch the football. I couldn't stand the tension so went upstairs to find things to do. One of the things I found to do was time to read an email my brother had sent round predicting Beckham would get injured, and Rooney would get sent off. Which is of course just what happened next. I am sure he cursed the match. You heard it here first.

No 1 who had been soooo certain we were going to win belatedly worked out what I had been telling her since the start, it's always a roller coaster with England and the downs are usually more frequent then the ups... We watched the penalty shoot out in disbelief (I mean, that Portugese guy, saving goals???? It could only happen to England...) I know they played crap most of the time, but that second half was valiant and it always makes penalties seem even more unfair.

Poo, said No 1 when it was over, and I couldn't disagree. OTOH, watching the remaining matches has been curiously restful...


I was out on Monday because of the twins day, and supposed to be playing tennis on Wednesday. (I know I shouldn't really organise things I want to do). Fortunately, as I have so much to do, it rained, so tennis was off, but it meant I got to finish my allotments. Finally, after two years. Now I've done it I think it's a pile of crap, but am hoping my agent might think otherwise. What is certain Spouse is never going to look at it unless I have a contract and a copy in my little sticky paw!

On Tuesday, I remembered belatedly it was no 3's Open Day. I could arrive early if I liked to pick her up (highly inconvenient as I was trying to work) - so I thought I'd whizz in at about 2.45, have a quick shufti round her class and then go and get no 4. It was only when I arrived, that I discovered there was a quiz to do, which involved visiting every single class. Now, as I have been going back and forth from the school for the last six years, there ain't a lot to discover about it, my only interest in going is to look at my daughter's work, and to please her obviously... So I ended up leaving her there, rushing off to get no 4 and then coming back and very bad temperedly doing the quiz...
On Thursday I foolishly offered to help with a pedestrian training day for year 3. No 2 was desperate for me to come and I never do anything like that, so I said yes. Oh dear oh dear. I had wanted to have a swim (the triathlon training is slowly improving, but I really need to get in the pool), but then discovered I needed to be at school at 9.20. I didn't escape till 11am, which left just enough time to get to the bank before nursery pick up.

Training was total nightmare. Getting eight year olds focussed on answering the questions you want them to answer rather then telling you everything they know (randomly) about road safety being somewhat trickier then envisaged. Also the idea was to get them to take responsibility for crossing the roads (not much pressure there, then). As the roads round their school are really hazardous (so much so when this scheme was first set up the person running it said she couldn't find anywhere safe to cross the road!), getting them to even get to the middle of an island took forever. Consequently a walk of say ten minutes took nearly an hour, and my tolerance levels were rock bottom by the end, I can tell you.

After lunch I took no 4 to tennis, before picking the others up and going back to the club where nos 1 & 3 then have their lessons. This is followed by no 1 going out to Guides till 8.30. I got everyone in the bath while she was out and then did the dreaded nit check. I am usually scrupulous about this, but of late have been a bit lax. Which is of course why I have just had a lesson in why you should never ever take your eye off the ball...

I found some eggs in no 3's hair, several small live ones in no4's and about 100 in no 2's... Aaggh! It's going to take me forever to get rid of them. Turns out no 2 has been sitting next to the class equivalent of Nitty Nora for the last few weeks - a fact I only picked up on yesterday when I went in her class...

By ten pm the children were all deloused and in bed and I was itchy as hell.

On Friday I went into no 3's assembly to watch her blow out candles on the cake they bring out for the purpose. Usually they do this first, so I was planning a quick escape and meeting a couple of other mums who had to be in the Junior school for their children's assembly. I should have been out by 9.15, if it hadn't been for the deputy head changing the order of events. I watched in desperation as child after child came up to display their good work and the clock was ticking unremittingly towards 9.30. In desperation I asked her to interrupt the praise fest, and managed to finally escape by 9.25. I raced across the playground, realised my friends had already gone and ran up the hill just as the children were about to go on stage - phew!

The show was a triumph of ambition over sense. You have to hand it to the nursery leader, she doesn't let a little thing like the fact she has a bunch of 3/4 year olds stop her from going for broke. The theme of the show was the jungle, so we had groups of tigers/monkeys/snakes/elephants etc. and a small band of explorers who had a phenomenal amount of words to remember. No4 was a tiger, and also had some lines, which I was amazed to hear her deliver loudly. She actually seemed to do rather a lot (which makes a change - normally I sit through the tedium for my child to pop up for two minutes) - dancing/singing with the other tigers/playing the drums/and having one little solo bit where she had to brush her teeth. The funniest thing about the show, though, was not the children, but the nursery leader, who enthusiastically encouraged them from the back, leaping up and down and pulling all manner of funny faces as she tried to get them to stick with the programme. It would have been worth videoing her alone...

We still have two and a half weeks to go and I have to endure two more sports days and give a talk to no 3's class about making books. Not only that, I seem to be met daily with requests for things I don't have: cardboard boxes, silver foil, cotton wool - all to make piles of crap that I will have to find space for at the end of term. Some day I would really love to swap places with some of the teachers, then they might have a slight clue as to what they are asking of us mums...

I don't know why people moan about the summer holidays - quite frankly, I can't wait....

Seeing Double

It having been National Twins Day this week and Mad Twin and I (her ephitet, not mine) having trogged down to St Thomas' for a Twins Party at the Twins Research Unit (sorry for the tongue twister), I thought it an appropriate moment to take stock and share some of the more interesting things about being a twin.

People often ask us what it's like being a twin. As we have no experience of anything else, it's quite a toughie to answer. My instinct now is to respond with, What's it like being a singleton? There you can't answer that either can you...

I can only go on my only experience here, but for me the best way of describing being a twin is to say that it is like looking at yourself in the mirror. Your reflection is you, but slightly off. That's kind of the way it is.

My sister and I share many characteristics: we are open, warm, friendly, passionate, impatient, stubborn and bad-tempered. We hate criticism and can be deeply oversensitive, imagining hurts and slights that don't exist, but that does make us quite sensitive and empathetic with others. (We're Cancerian you see - tough exterior, soft insides). We're also insanely competitive - especially with one another.

Somewhere along the line we must have come to some unwritten agreement that we would take some characteristics and make them more our own - so my sister tends to be more passionate then I am, whereas I tend to control my emotions slightly more. She is probably more focussed and disciplined then I am, whereas I have a tendency to fire off at random. She is the unconventional one - in marriage she chose a peace activist, I chose a dentist - and at school was the one most likely to be in trouble. She has a keen sense of injustice and is the first to leap up and say, it's not fair, whereas I am more inclined to shrug my shoulders and take a pragmatic response. And yet, I have a strong sense of fair play to, and when she chooses to she can be pragmatic.

I like to think we're the opposite sides of a circle, and together we make a whole. In fact, my favourite poem, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning, by John Donne sums it up pretty well. In it, he compares two lovers being joined together like a set of compasses (bit odd, I know, but hey, he was a metaphysicist) - but he could equally be describing twins, when he ends the poem:

Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like th’other foot, obliquely run,
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end, where I begunne

Being a twin is not without its difficulties sometimes.

There's the obvious one of being mistaken for one another. Time out of number I've been on a train or a bus somewhere and a complete stranger has claimed to know me. I usually just cut to the chase now and say, I think you must know my twin. (If it is a case of mistaken identity and they know neither of us, people tend to think I'm making it up!). Very often they do. But the problem can then arise that they think they know you. Which they don't. I'm not her, I want to scream, I'm me.

So reclaiming your identity can sometimes be tricky. Our brother used to drive as mad as children by claiming we were one person really. No, we're not, we would shriek before hurling ourselves on top of him. As he is six years older, this really wasn't a fair contest, and we always came off worst. But it set alight in me a strong desire for independence, and my mother thinks I spent a lot of my childhood trying to escape being a twin.

I can't remember that really, but I do remember the irritation of my sister always beating me (only marginally, but she did always do better) academically. I was always slightly better at English, and eventually she beat me at that too. I was an absolute cow about it, but fortunately she forgave me. Did I mention the great thing about being a twin? No one else will ever be as forgiving of your sins - what you do to your sister/brother you also do to yourself...

We very rarely fall out - we've only done it twice in our adult lives - and when we do it is cataclysmically awful. Until we make up, neither of us feels quite whole. Not something that those around you can understand too easily, but I'm sure other twins do. It is like the world is out of kilter and nothing fits or feels right. To be at odds with your twin if you are close to them is a pain beyond description. The relief when the argument is over cannot be overstated. It feels like you've come home.

All of this stuff is something non-twins may well have with other siblings, but we have other siblings too and the twin-bond is deeper. We were there at the start together, and I sometimes wonder what happens at the end - I was born half an hour later, do I pop off half an hour later too? I never like to dwell on that one too long. A world without my other half in it doesn't bear thinking about.

We also have shared memories in common - sometimes I know something happened to one of us, but can't remember which one. Or I look at a photo and I don't know if it's me I'm looking at.

The fun side of it is pretending to be each other, which we did a lot as children but now of course we're all grown up and don't do that kind of thing anymore...

But we do share a tendency to ring people up at the same time/send similar cards or presents. I'm not sure if that counts as being psychic, but we certainly think along similar lines and come up with similar conclusions. I guess that is something that other twins can relate to, too...

I'm not hung up on being a twin, and now we have families we don't often get together, but to go and spend a whole day with other twins felt like something of a treat. Several of us stood chatting outside the hospital while waiting for our other halves, who were incredibly easy to spot. Although even for a twin there was something slightly spooky about seeing hordes of identical couples walking up to St Thomas'. I felt at times as though I was in a very bad SF movie. I don't think I'd have been all that surprised if Shaun of the Dead had turned up...

Scary SF experiences aside, it was actually a great day. We all had our picture taken in the blazing sunshine (yay! fame at last), before heading off to lunch. All the twins were met were very jolly and convivial and chatting with them, it is quite apparent there is a huge commonality of experience amongst us. And for once in our lives it was nice not to feel like the odd ones out.

I am also hugely grateful to the lovely people at the TRU for letting Mad Twin and I talk about our experiences running the marathon.

One good turn deserves another, so....

The work the TRU unit does in using twins to research different diseases is hugely important and they are always looking for more twins for their database. If you're a twin/know of some twins and want to find out more:
ring: 020 7188 5555
or email:

With huge thanks to Ursula and Lynn at the Twins Unit for a wonderful day and to Professor Tim Spector for getting the unit going. It is a huge privilege to be part of the database!

And to my mad twin for being the other half of my whole.


As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"Now his breath goes," and some say, "No."

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears ;
Men reckon what it did, and meant ;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
—Whose soul is sense—
cannot admit Of absence,
'cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.