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This poem is taken from PN Review 114, Volume 23 Number 4, March - April 1997.

Aeolian Kazoo Ben Downing


Not the dulcet harp of Thomson, Coleridge
et al. I can't afford the ormolu,
the pretense of the wind god whiffling through
in celestial puffs, a kapellmeister midge

at work for me, pluck pluck, among the strings.
Such instruments are fickle, hothouse things;
you might put one before a khamsin, say,
which Brewer salutes as 'a fifty days'

wind in Egypt', and scarcely cop a plink
therefrom. Pampero, harmattan and mistral:
none can make a troubadour or prink
the tin-eared poetaster's caterwaul.

I, for instance, took my verse box to Peru,
held it in the snapping puna gale,
and didn't get so much as doggerel.
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