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This poem is taken from PN Review 36, Volume 10 Number 4, March - April 1984.

Prehistories Peter Scupham
1

Adrowse, my pen trailed on, and a voice spoke:
'Now, you must read us "Belknap".' My book was open.

I saw their faces; there were three of them,
Each with a certain brightness in her eyes.

I would read 'Belknap'. Then a gardener's shears
Snipped fatefully my running thread of discourse.

And in my indices, no poem upon which
I could confer this honorary title.

Foundering in dictionaries and gazetteers,
I came there: Belas Knap, a chambered tomb.

The lips are closed upon the withered barrow:
A dummy portal, a slant lintel hung

Beneath a scalp of ruinous grass, her walls
A packed mosaic of blurred syllables.

2

Entering is a deployment of small silences,
Frail collusions and participations.
...


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