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This poem is taken from PN Review 144, Volume 28 Number 4, March - April 2002.

Four Poems Joe Sheerin

Frieze in the British Museum

You had eyes only for the lions. Some
squaring up to kings and some pierced
from shoulder to haunch weeping stone.

Such an unequal battle, the carved manes
swept back, their heads noble as sphinxes
and the digits of their great paws big as forearms.

You watched with your immeasurably sad eyes
murmuring as if for the loss of children and as if
your pity alone would bring them back to life.

The straggled line of captive men pleading and begging
with all the gestures of hopeless fear in the face
of pitiless and arrogant authority, a pre-run of what
we learned to do much better, would make stones weep.

But it was the lions that won your heart that day
in the long gallery. I could feel your hand colden and

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