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This poem is taken from PN Review 133, Volume 26 Number 5, May - June 2000.

A Vision of W.S. Graham's Hippopotamus in Venice David Kinloch

    'Each word is but a longing
Set out to break from a difficult home.'
                    W.S. Graham, 'The Nightfishing'

What Graham heard first
Was the matronly chafe
Of her widow udders
On the Algonquin Hotel's
Thick pile; what he saw

Was the swing and the
Prance of her all-
Belly, softer and more velvet
Than the empty, numbered
Corridor; what he sent,

Swimming across Iapetus,
Was this old sea-cow
Now wellingtoned
In Venetian shallows
...


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