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This poem is taken from PN Review 103, Volume 21 Number 5, May - June 1995.

Two Poems John Heath-Stubbs


Naming of Rivers
Rivers in Celtic countries, or at least
Where those languages were spoken once,
Are just great waters - Avon or Usk,
Or else presiding femininities,
Nursing mothers of the lands they flow through -
The Irish Ban, and Anna Livia,
The Dee, divine one, likewise Milton's Sabrina,
The Don, who is the great goddess Danau
Who mated with the Dagda on a water-course
And took her name perhaps from the wide flood
The Tanäis, or the Danube, where first maybe
The speakers of our linked and kindred dialects -
Indian and European -
Milked their flocks of ewes, herded their beeves,
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