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This poem is taken from PN Review 100, Volume 21 Number 2, November - December 1994.

Five Poems Edgell Rickword

The Soldier Addresses His Body
I shall be mad if you get smashed about;
we've had good times together, you and I;
although you groused a bit when luck was out,
and a girl turned us down, or we went dry.

Yet there's a world of things we haven't done,
countries not seen, where people do strange things;
eat fish alive, and mimic in the sun
the solemn gestures of their stone-grey kings.

I've heard of forests that are dim at noon
where snakes and creepers wrestle all day long;
where vivid beasts grow pale with the full moon,
gibber and cry, and wail a mad old song;

because at the full moon the Hippogriff
with crinkled ivory snout and agate feet,
...


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