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This poem is taken from PN Review 28, Volume 9 Number 2, November - December 1982.

Poems Iain Crichton-Smith


On a dark day in winter I read Shakespeare.
The birds set off to branches of the south.
I tremble on the branches of the mind.

Summer is finished, Shakespeare always remains,
tree on tree for ever fragrant, young,
leaves that never fall out of the leaves.

Forest of Arden, you are my best south,
the lightning wit in this locality,
the cloudless sky, the rainbow tunics there,

and thunder too. We have the best of it,
so many weathers, changeable, intense.
Farewell to the long-necked geese that cross the sea.


Always in the same way the poets die
when the girls on horses irretrievably

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