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This poem is taken from PN Review 91, Volume 19 Number 5, May - June 1993.

Two Poems Anthony Thwaite

INTERPRETER

I am very nervous. You can tell I am very nervous.
The moment I greet you, I begin talking too much
And the words are not right, I know they are not right.
Anyway …They have asked me to do this job
Which means speaking your words in my words
And their words in your words, and so I begin
Talking too much before you have even begun
Using many words at all. In fact, as I say …
Anyway … I wish I could keep calm, and listen, and say
Exactly the words that they speak and you speak,
      and begin
To know what you want to know about what that is
Over there (I'm not sure - I think it historical).
Anyway … But now I begin to tell you about my life
Since you kindly asked a question, and so I go on -
...


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