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This poem is taken from PN Review 75, Volume 17 Number 1, September - October 1990.

Four Poems David Constantine

*

In the ocean room, in the history of voyaging,
The best he showed me was the giant nautilus.
We were cheek by cheek, pressing against the glass,
When one or other of us began imagining
Sleep underwater and the old way of breathing.

He was the pearly nautilus and I
Allowed my body to the way he rocked.
So we tolled forward and with my fingertips
I read the scrimshaw: poems, fables, the log
Of landfalls, idle beautiful lines

As long as thong but flowering queerly
And becoming another creation. Couched on him
I read and silvery tickling bubbles
Hurried from my mouth. In the next case
There was a photograph of a savage man

All mapped out, he wore the fabulous
...


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