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This poem is taken from PN Review 140, Volume 27 Number 6, July - August 2001.

Two Poems Dannie Abse


He was talking about Kierkegaard
when I observed a housefly had chosen
to settle on his elegant left shoe.

He was saying how we are a mixture
of the finite and the infinite
unaware of this fly, a masterpiece.

He was saying we are a synthesis
of the temporal and the eternal
while the fly's proboscis sucked his shoe.

And when it crawled on to his exposed sock
I thought how the female domesticus,
programmed, lays its eggs in refuse or dung;

how the larvae, those small white maggots,
change to pupae without casting their skins
till eight days later the perfect fly emerges.

Snapshot of Ruskin in Venice

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