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This poem is taken from PN Review 255, Volume 47 Number 1, September - October 2020.

Empire
for Jane
John Greening
They climb the stairs of our little house,
those black-and-white pictures of your father
escorting the Sultan of Zanzibar, who’s

in robes and headdress, bearded, bent,
to the inevitable. None of your mother,
though she was the heart of government

and ruled your waves when I invaded
Hampton’s post-imperial maze,
toxic twists and turns and dead

ends baffling to a boy from the Heath.
Here, Geoffrey’s standing at ease
in his white uniform, beneath

the coconut palm, with two judges,
a general, the medals, the gowns.
Nothing is going to change. He marches

ahead of the Sultan watched by troops
...


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