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This poem is taken from PN Review 38, Volume 10 Number 6, May - June 1984.

Poems John Ash


The legend of that relationship had been going on
for so long, - longer than any river -
it might have been written in Langue d'Oc

and in a small, crapulous town full of absurd hoardings
dominated by a leaning water-tower
they found themselves, at last, without either food
or money, half blinded by the flying dust,
bitumen and grit. But even this amused them,
and abashed townsfolk who had held back, awaiting
the outcome of the arrival, soon emerged,
crab-like, from weathered houses to fill big cans
from the wall-fountain their laughter had become.

'Without visible means of support'
they were immortal, the arms of a constellation at least.
'Of no fixed abode'

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