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This poem is taken from PN Review 100, Volume 21 Number 2, November - December 1994.

Six Poems Alistair Elliot

Turnstones on Lewis
Pale in the shade of a taller person
I have seen these birds before;
in the wintry black and white
of my father's telescope
I used to watch them turning
the stones and spinachy weed,
guest-workers from the north
with an international job.

They search for something to eat,
the soft stuff lying under
uncompromising hardness
in the wet space between languages
where solid and liquid fret;
they ask only for stones
...


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