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This poem is taken from PN Review 203, Volume 38 Number 3, January - February 2012.

Three Poems Alistair Elliot
Hearing Things

Enjoying Sappho, who is very good,
in bed, I'm thinking of her apple-boughs
so often mentioned and her juicy noise
of water seeping softly through the wood,
when Barbara asks me can I hear the voice
of little birds, saluting light outside
my range of hearing: what I thought I heard
was weather misbehaving against glass.

There is a sadness in the loss of sounds
for any sort of singer: Piaf, the sparrows,
goddesses of the opera; even Sappho's
notes have sunk into the baffled silence
where I am disappearing even now.
That sound of barking, stifled, in the distance
was Barbara's breath, I realise, against

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