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This poem is taken from PN Review 85, Volume 18 Number 5, May - June 1992.

Five Poems Sophie Hannah


This wallpaper soaks up secrets. Each pink flower
throbs with a previous pain; each miniature bird
shelters a word beneath its lilac wing,
while the blue beak seeks a sorrow seed to pluck
from petals, which offer up without resistance
their heavy burdens.

Resistance, though? A strangled resolution
originated here: life must get harder
for every bird who dreams that flight is easy,
for every flower under the illusion
that spring will follow winter.

This wallpaper wraps the room in helpless beauty:
a thousand birds, a thousand roses stuck
in delicate isolation. They grow stronger
by reaching for each other in the darkness.

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