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This poem is taken from PN Review 42, Volume 11 Number 4, March - April 1985.

Paul Valéry's 'Genoa Night' Robert Conquest
(October 4/5, 1892)

1

At first just stormwater pouring
Down cobbles of a canted town
To the glaucous heave of the sea.
Prone on the bed he feels faintly
Distant flicker of lightning,
Subliminal thunder-purr.

His life has passed through a swarm
Of demoralizings - as (he'd say)
Earth runs through the Leonids:
The lost girl, the lost aims.
Reasons for not publishing:
Pride, fatigue, foul galleys,
Twisted to one skein.
Non-completion of self.
Egoism? The end of egoism?
The brute powers close in.
...


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