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This poem is taken from PN Review 122, Volume 24 Number 6, July - August 1998.

Six Poems Stephen Romer

Hic Incipit Vita Nuova

The great look back - and see ruins -
or forward - to one redeeming work,
the impossible City of God.

From his station on the terrace,
in the highest house of the spirit,
Valéry's constellated masterpiece
appeared to him in the night,
and I knew the value and the beauty,
the excellence of all I have not done
-
This is your work, said a voice:

Silent Pound's aborted periplum,
with terraces the colour of stars -
my errors and wrecks lie about me...
This is not vanity... This is not vanity
:

Or Johnson: When I survey my past life,
...


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