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

Five Poems Les Murray

Green Rose Tan
Poverty is still sacred. Christian
and political candles burn before it
for a little longer. But secretly

poverty revered is poverty outlived:
childhoods among bed-ticking midnights
blue as impetigo mixture, through the grilles,

cotton-rancid contentments of exhaustion
around Earth's first kerosene lamp
indoors out of wet root-crop fields.

Destitution's an antique. The huge-headed
are sad chaff blown by military bohemians.
Their thin metal bowls are filled or not

from the sky by deodorized descendants
of a tart-tongued womb-noticing noblesse
...


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