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This poem is taken from PN Review 50, Volume 12 Number 6, July - August 1986.

The Holiday Album Charles Boyle

1 A MEETING

My friend ... So soon on first-name terms, so soon
our language lessons enable us to call
what lies between us salt, pepper, bottle of wine
or empty bottle. Sunlight's a feast
to eyes starved of the strong simplicities
of sea, sky, the cut-throat edge of whitewashed walls
against the blue: I'm like a child again, hungry
for knowledge I'll never forget, these very words
spelt out on the tablecloth the waiter
is about to whisk off - and with such dash,
such sleight-of-hand and modest eyes as become
a conjurer hired for the lull after feeding,
a true professional who leaves everything just
as he found it, and our looks of incomprehension.

2 A PREFERENCE
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