Ingrid Bergman (or Casablanca Remade)

It may be we froze, my heart,

in that scene between

the budding of an Ingrid Bergman

rose and her open-blooded

unfurling, when she let herself

– in one uncensored moment –

give in to Rick’s eyes and their intent

stare into her soul.



In my movie Ilse and Rick

went on blossoming long after

she left in that plane – petals open

forever in a frame.



Not so our rose: just as she began to bloom

she was held in a sudden frost

that spread so fast after the heat,

it seized all of her but the cutting green

of her thorns. That cold shot,

was it directed by you, or me?

or a hybrid strain

remade by a cutting-edge



director, who thinks love in film

– and in life – is lacking

realism? You’ll recognise him:

he knows from the inside “those cumulative losses

that leave men and women bereft”

like a film crashing over budget

(or what happens to Ilse and Rick, after that plane takes off).

Ingrid Bergman? The man will not cast her as his

leading lady: he wants no leading lady

– he no longer risks himself on red red roses.



Perhaps – assuming he’s still “the sharpest

observer of modern romance,

an uncompromising charm-breaker” –

he’ll decide to show nothing on camera

but our failure




– fade to Ingrid Bergman, an ice-bitten

cameo, red velvet unseen.


He fails in the final cut, though,

for all the close editing.

His candid eye reveals the enchantment

of a rose, flaming

as he frames us by that plane.