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This poem is taken from Poetry Nation 5 Number 5, 1975.

Two Poems Peter Porter


STUDIES OF A GIRL

This is the heart of the mystery,
how to live with one's own body,
a territory as ductile as
the plains of the Arno, swift as
circuits of the Adige, how to say
My Mother bids me bind my hair
and tread on earth with the sweet
misura of a perfect instep,
the arch of triumphal love.

It is only proper to be frightened
of a perfection which does not
know itself. Nakedness is the moon,
a desolate orb which burns the mind:
we can never find it, it sleeps
beneath the sexual fashions
a snake in the garden. Until death,
...


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