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This poem is taken from PN Review 106, Volume 22 Number 2, November - December 1995.

Two Poems Janet Montefiore


Fragments of the literal:
                      the beach where we walked,
the rocks where we sat, smooth to see and rough to touch: great whales which did not move in the waters,
the cactus, pleased with the morning light, standing tall among weeds,
the vulture pecking at a dead gull; the broken bamboo I leant on:
dull sky over trodden sand; foam moving in sunlight

                      These are only fragments.
It was not like the water darkening the red granite, varium et mutabile semper
not like the brilliant Audenesque surfers, swooping and tumbling past the rock,
not like the endless movement of the sea, trembling, invading, retreating.
     We were not swimmers. Or not that kind.

                                            Rio, then?
where the sea was polluted - shit soup, they call it -
and the sand filthy, but brilliant at night,
traversed by a slowly moving crowd of figures,

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