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

Three Poems Vernon Scannell

Poet Tree

Until he reached the age of nine or ten
He lived in places north of Birmingham,
At first in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, and then
In Eccles, Lancashire, where he began
At school to learn by heart the wizard words
That, he was told, were known as 'poitry',
Words that soared and swooped and sang like birds,
Or rumbled in the dark mysteriously.

The vowel in 'poitry' rhymed, of course with 'boy'.
Next, the family moved south, a place
Not far from London where they might enjoy
A better life - though this proved not the case -
And here at school he heard an alien sound:
The teacher spoke of 'poetry', the first
Syllable rhymed with cockney 'dough'. He found
His mind befogged, but then the mist dispersed.

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