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This poem is taken from PN Review 24, Volume 8 Number 4, March - April 1982.

Two Poems John Ash

FERNS AND THE NIGHT

'Und wir hörten sie noch von ferne
Trotzig singen im Wald.'


This is the sort of place you might arrive at after a long journey
involving the deaths of several famous monsters,
only to be disappointed almost to the point of grief

Heavy clouds hang in a clump above a wide, perfectly level plain
which is the image of a blank mind. Night is falling.
There is a wooden house, a lighted porch: it is a scene of
      'marvellous simplicity'.-
too marvellous perhaps: the very grain of the wood offers itself
for our admiration, and the light has such 'warmth'
it is hard to restrain tears. The clouds are now distinctly purple,
agitated,-a kind of frantically stirred borsch, suitable backdrop
for some new opera's Prelude of Foreboding, but not for this
      ambiguous scene
...
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