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This poem is taken from PN Review 269, Volume 49 Number 3, January - February 2023.

Three Poems Sean O'Brien
Sleepers

‘…sleeping the deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake.’

Our age of afternoons was ending
all that summer while we slept
the little sleep the English call their own.

Sleep was a pool the sun could never warm.
The surface lay unmoved
and sightless while the clouds swam on

across an empty screen into the past.
And that was it, a dim eternity.
Until the weather changed and there we were

again, dry-mouthed on burning beds,
half-listening as autumn thunderstorms
broke on the coast, and on the Downs

we didn’t own (we had an understanding, though).
In any case, all this was surely meant
...


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