My life is just an act of faith;
I paint its cardboard scenery,
add endless detail until it looks quite real to me,
then make sure my colours match, and wait.
For you’re the one who wrote my part;
though I can pencil in my lips and sketch my eyes,
imagine some clothes and ad-lib a few suitable sighs,
without you the play will lack a heart.
If you’d say I come with strings attached, it would be true:
following the movement of your hands,
I’d be only too glad to dance
to any tune you want me to.
In the meantime I dance with your shadow, in the mirror on the wall;
I do it well and make it seem
as if it’s much more than just a dream,
though I know that if you don’t move me, I’ll soon fall.
You’re the only thing that’s real, so let me put my hope in fate;
without the thought of you, nothing would matter
and all my dreamed up limbs would shatter –
just let me wish the curtain won’t go up too late.
Listen to the audio version of this poem here on youtube
Photograph: Baron Adolph de Meyer, for Vogue