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This poem is taken from PN Review 176, Volume 33 Number 6, July - August 2007.

Two Poems Alfred Corn


Ambition even vast finds its limit.
But love goes undefined, a threshold crossed
As often as the passage serves to deepen
Hushed petitioners who falter toward
A torch-lit audience with the oracle.

The wall that dammed back Caledonia
And its warriors also bridled the Empire,
Rome in its silver age a hub less driven
To centrifugal expansion via paved
Routes designed to spin out cohorts of shields
By the bronze, obedient ten thousand.
Standardised blocks constructed Caesar's rough-cut
Nec plus ultra , his full stop in stone.

A calculated number of leagues south,

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