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This poem is taken from PN Review 254, Volume 46 Number 6, July - August 2020.

An Arch Wherethro’ and other poems Sean O'Brien
Keep Out

The wood belongs there. But the tumbled wall
And the iron gates long since unhinged
Would have you think that the estate itself
Was never new, that here is the original

Whose copper beech and monstrous laurels
Were the servants of the grand design
Of everything this silence means to say:
Keep out, keep out, desire not.

Which must be why we come at dusk.
Although the keeper’s dead and gone,
To trespass in this senile paradise
Might still incur a penalty, a tax perhaps

On understanding, so that when we disbelievers
Wander in, the danger is that we may feel
We ‘understand’ the longing that secured
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