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This poem is taken from PN Review 3, Volume 4 Number 3, April - June 1978.

Two Poems Fleur Adcock
Variations on a Theme of Horace

Clear is the man and of a cold life
who needn't fear the slings and arrows;
cold is the man, and perhaps the moorish bows
will avoid him and the wolf turn tail.


Sitting in the crypt under bare arches
at a quite ordinary table with a neat cloth,
a glass of wine before him, 'I'm never sure'
he said 'that I'll wake up tomorrow morning.'

Upstairs musicians were stretching their bows
for a late quartet which would also save us from nothing.
This ex-church was bombed to rubble,
rebuilt. It is not of that he was thinking.

And policemen decorate the underground stations
to protect us from the impure of heart:
the traveller must learn to suspect his neighbour,

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