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This poem is taken from PN Review 108, Volume 22 Number 4, March - April 1996.

Seven Poems Peter Robinson


An Undetermined Heart
A fitted mat of leaves across the garden,
some laundry hung out on the line for ever,
this was the house he'd invited me to choose,
spacious, deserted, where alone a widow died.

The boarded-up windows lent oppressiveness
to shady comers of a bare room's tokonoma,
not a stick of furniture, the few amenities…
When he asked me did I like it I said, 'No.'

Like an empty vicarage before we had moved in
traces of displacement scuffed on walls and floor,
the scratches in a wooden step from its entry well
enough to remind me of that loneliness once more…

'Put away the personal sensations,' he had said,
'Such a loneliness we Japanese all wish to find.'
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