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This poem is taken from PN Review 167, Volume 32 Number 3, January - February 2006.

Five Poems (translated by Iain Galbraith) Jan Wagner


robinsonade

'... I might be more happy in this solitary condition than I should have been in a liberty of society and in all the pleasures of the world...'
                                                            Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

the green papingo perched upon my shoulder
is included, says the travel agent's folder:
the skies i'd find immaculate,
the sands of dazzling white, and here i sit -
on a tabula rasa. when visibility is good,
the fire burning, starlight overhead,
i think i see a distant answer gleam -
first two, then five, and soon
my island is encircled by a chain of fire.
by first light it has vanished in thin air.
aiming sticks at the ocean's skyline edge
i watch the sea return them to the beach;
i wait for the incoming wave to break,
...


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