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This poem is taken from PN Review 84, Volume 18 Number 4, March - April 1992.

Cento Biblioteche Italiane John Peck


Filipo Neri collared the gay-blade nobility here, schooling them in chant and laughter
With a wife like that, and Chiron as fosterer, how not go far?
Intarsia books and lute, perspective lecterns, medallioned cities, for one man …
One shoe off, one shoe on, that's got to be my son Jason
… while on hills opposite she strives up the goat path, laggard sister

Spawned in the sheepfolds of Hermes when that
           fleece-gold lamb's back flared
its ruinous wonder through the flocks
           of Atreus, breeder of horses

Foyer a guantlet of vellum, overseer the lion-headed hominid of time
   What you lug piggy-back may be a wild woman at the river, but what steps down is your fate
Newman's hymns drifting over the Notre Dame goal post, practice kicks refining loft and spin
   Forethought on sword's tip and shield's ridge, afterthought nowhere behind
She looks up, he looks up, their coats on companion hooks, into a future
   Snort-fire and the bull's testicle to cool him, then a pebble: the demon-army will squabble over it
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