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This poem is taken from PN Review 196, Volume 37 Number 2, November - December 2010.

Three Poems Jeffrey Wainwright


They are always wise words those
Leonato says to Antonio, both bravi,
both old men but still learning the hard way
and Antonio especially willing to give contumely
what for – ‘Come Signor Boy!’ – and the words are:
‘There was never yet philosopher
that could abide the toothache patiently.’

And it is what Melville says among the dunes to Hawthorne,
but then reports how sometimes he can lie on the ground
and feel as though his hair and fingers
are filaments of the grass,
each growing into each so that he knows himself
as part of what he must call the All, Everything -
there is no sound for it not even the least sound.

But then sitting in those sands at Southport,
within the shades of the Customs House,

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