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This poem is taken from PN Review 158, Volume 30 Number 6, July - August 2004.

Seven Poems P.J. Kavanagh

The New Man

Cricket captains cry on television - even Australian.
`I love you' is commonplace now, to hesitate is repression.
`Love you', child's cellphone sign-off, parent and son.
In the crowded cathedral at mid-Mass handshake Sign
of Peace, `I love ya, Patrick!' (my name) made me turn,
startled: a bearded American hugged his male companion.

Do I say it, ever? Perhaps, but insufficiently often,
doubtless from prudence, or fear; something about Temptation
of Providence, plus the old idea, `Actions speak louder than...'
Only after one suddenly died, in outraged indignation
did I bawl, `But I loved you!' as though we'd been
hardly done by. Too late now. It was a shared hesitation.
Though I would have enjoyed a Bronx cheer from you, a comedian-
beauty, your pleased, teasing derision. Different then.


Whitsun

At times you can watch a sheep almost shaping a thought,
...


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