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Next Issue Meet Michael Edwards at the Brasserie Lipp David Herman reads Milosz's life Sumita Chakraborty's five poems Judith Wilson's encounter with Giovanni Pascoli Simon Armitage revives Branwell Bronte

This poem is taken from PN Review 189, Volume 36 Number 1, September - October 2009.

Five Poems Simon Armitage

The English Astronaut

He splashed down in rough seas off Spurn Point.
I watched through a coin-op telescope
jammed with a lollipop stick as a trawler fished him out of the waves
and ferried him back to Mission Control on a trading estate
near the Humber Bridge. He spoke with a mild voice:
yes, it was good to be home; he’d missed his wife, the kids,
couldn’t wait for a shave and a hot bath.
‘Are there any more questions?’ No, there were not.

I followed him in his Honda Accord to a Little Chef on the A1,
took the table opposite, watched him order the all-day breakfast
and a pot of tea. ‘You need to go outside to do that,’
said the waitress when he lit a cigarette.
He read the paper, started the crossword,
poked at the black pudding with his fork.
Then he stared through the window for long unbroken minutes at a time,
...


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