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

The Stranger in the Corridor John Ash

With vague attributes, they all wander in here
at one time or another. Often
I wish they would stay longer, if not to speak,
then perhaps to take on some more certain form, -

a swirl of colour (orange or green) in an otherwise
transparent marble that has just emerged,
of its own volition, from years of exile under the sofa.
And why has it come to us at this moment?

The unimpressive apparition might mean something, -
for an unexpected pause in the recitation of a letter
can have more power to disturb than a whole succession
of subsiding Valhallas, and we can barely read the words

announcing the discovery of the lost girl,
the mystery of the mésalliance. Is it the dim light?
Or tears of the sort that are compared to pearls? . . .

We care about this more than a little
...


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