Love can take many forms, as this poem by Angela France demonstrates. It comes from The Everyday Poet: Poems to Live by, edited by Deborah Alma (Michael O’Mara Books Ltd., £9.99).

                  THE LIGHT BENEATH

She looks up from the potatoes, sees him in the garden

and watches as he levels a molehill. He spreads earth

over the border, scrapes the ground flat, bends

to dust off a low leaf. She knows he will clean

his spade, wash his hands and leave his boots

in the mud room before he comes to sit at the table

and wait behind his newspaper for lunch.


Friends ask how she copes with his dour silence.

She could tell them how he’s got up first for thirty years

to make the coffee, how he’s always folded

his warm legs around her feet on winter nights,

how the first blooms of summer are cut for the kitchen

table before she knows they exist. She couldn’t explain

how once, when she was ill, she woke to find him

watching over her, hollow faced.


She sees he’s flattening another mound as a neighbour

stops to talk. She can see the man is animated,

fast-talking, pointing and making sharp stabs

in the air. She can guess that he offers suggestions

of poison or traps. She doesn’t need to hear her husband

to know what he says as he turns away,

She’s heard it before: They lighten the soil.