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This poem is taken from PN Review 157, Volume 30 Number 5, May - June 2004.

Four Poems Patrick McGuinness

Short Life of a Thought

                    : it starts, mist on a roll
of film, a shell's rumour of the dim remembered
    sea. But it doesn't yet exist,
being a thought unhad, a memory
    of something not yet known;
clay before flesh, sunlight burning off the fog.

Not yet itself: a flickering pilot light, a meteor's
    dead surface pocked
with DNA, life's tiny intimations. And so
    it grows, mind-muscle in flex,
learning limit as breached limit.
    All things feed and drive it.
It puts down roots; embedded,

it sends out branches, swallows the air,
    converts the space around into versions
...


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