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This poem is taken from PN Review 119, Volume 24 Number 3, January - February 1998.

Ten Poems Patrick Mackie

What We Have Seen

The beauty of a woman or of wise hearts, or of gentle knights
in armour; the song of birds, or a conversation about love;
bright-coloured ships moving quickly on the sea; the clear air
when dawn appears, or white snow falling without any wind;

the water in a stream, or a meadow filled with every kind of
flower; gold, silver, or the azure used in ornaments - these are
beauties, you'll agree. Yet we have seen what we have seen,
there was no looking away from it, no weeping it away,

and it is not yet time to begin again. We haven't the energy.
We've been sleeping badly recently - you know how moths
can take to blundering inanely around a bedroom for hours -
and the moon insists on changing just a little every night

to keep us on the look-out. So we remind ourselves of the comforts
no one usually thinks to mention, the pleasures of stretching all
round the bed in stages, the joys of the different levels of darkness,
the reinvention of beauty as a pet name for insomnia.
...


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