I did not meet you at a party,
exchanging niceties across
the hubbub of a room
or at a dinner, craning out
across the table as you turned
between those seated either side.
Instead, I am the witness, unobserved,
when you reveal your inner self
to friends; the one who sees you
grapple with your archetypes
or half-refined idea;
in conflict for control
of notions running live,
like electric current down your arm,
the pen in automatic gear.
Or I see you deep in thought,
as you craft the perfect line,
shifting to resolve a crux.
I sit with my best friends --
like you, they mostly are long dead --
their practices and papers open.
Roy Davids [published in Oxford Magazine Eighth Week, Hilary Term, 2005]