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This poem is taken from PN Review 241, Volume 44 Number 5, May - June 2018.

Four Poems Tim Murdoch
Ava Gardner in Deia

She knows no shame, but serves to humble
with laughter, a withheld reaction, a glance
or steady quizzical gaze of hopeless sympathy,
pitch-dark eyes glowering, albeit kindly.

She is here to teach, though you imagine that
to be your role, and offer her a poem
personally inscribed, learning to your surprise
she’s read it before in your Penguin Selected.

Guardians of the Flame

They can tell you an anecdote isn’t poetry,
neither other devices – jokes for instance.
Slowly, the list of possibilities diminishes
’til it’s impossible to say what you’re left with.

Anything you show them they may negate
or offer qualified praise, sending you home

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