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This poem is taken from PN Review 228, Volume 42 Number 4, March - April 2016.

Blind Dates Siriol Troup
i | The only things we believe in are the sheep and the dogs (Henry James)

     Sergeant Troy, Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

He flourished his sword by way of introduction, rustling towards the hollow among the ferns.
Brass and scarlet shone, the ring of sheep-bells followed. Young and trim, by turns
serious and twinkling, he spoke of love but thought of dinner, and though I took him
for a wild scamp and a sinner, his well-shaped moustache agitated me strangely
until I grew feverish under the evolutions of his blade. He hinted - I forbade. Finally
all was over: quick as electricity, he made a hole in my heart that his tongue
could not mend. I did not flinch at his loose play or soldierly démarche. Ah, Beauty,
bravely borne!
said he, pretending to pay though always intending to owe. Yet truth
is truth at any hour of day. The ground was harsh, the haggard night dim and starless.
Dogs barked, meek lambs bleated and panted as he fled, but still his sword strung
lanterns in the air and left me shuddering in the streams of his aurora militaris.

ii | Eek, ik, eeik, ik, eek

      Piet Hanema, Couples by John Updike

High sun over the treacherous game, pink lemonade beside his chair, with strawberries, like his mother used to make.

I serve. He crouches at the net, feeling the land around him, sniffing for lust and floods, the racket sweating like a hammer in his fist.

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