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This poem is taken from PN Review 154, Volume 30 Number 2, November - December 2003.

Five Poems Patrick McGuinness


Two Paintings by Thomas Jones
(in the National Gallery of Wales, Cardiff)

I A Wall in Naples

I look and look until the nothing that I see
perfects itself. I perfect its lack of interest,
as if to show how it would not exist
were I not here to see it (though people see

it every day): a wall in Naples, cracked
plaster and beneath it brick, a horizontal
line of balcony, some hanging clothes racked
along a clothesline, and above it, pale

and ordinary blue, the sky. It's nothing -
it blocks the view; then, as I'm looking,
it becomes the view: in front of me, time's slack,
the world's swerve painted as it turns its back.


II A Street in Naples
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