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This poem is taken from PN Review 233, Volume 43 Number 3, January - February 2017.

J.H. Prynne in China Diana Bridge
To begin with, you were on your own. Down
the rabbit hole, ideas welling; the fun, the fear of that.
From one word to another, as the gifted child saw,
was rowing between islands. Two or more
islands were cranes, fishing companionably close.
No special pattern to cranes. But feed in, not setting
but space, as the Chinese know space, and one day
the islands rise in a spray of swallows, godwits headed
for the far rim of the earth. Readable, after a fashion.

Then came the time when you opened an index and
found there were two. Manichaean, then, the Chinese word?
No, nothing like that, just two arms of the track
they employ for hunting it down. You land
on the radical first. Oblique as a held spear,
quivering in shafts of live fur or disclosing
the balance inherent in wood, etching a shoulder

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