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This poem is taken from PN Review 124, Volume 25 Number 2, November - December 1998.

The Roses Jo Shapcott

after Rilke

I

If sometimes you're surprised
by my coolness
it's because inside myself,
petal against petal, I'm asleep.

I've been completely awake while my heart
dozed, for who knows how long,
speaking aphids and bees to you in silence,
speaking English through a French mouth.


II

You see me as half-open,
a book whose pages
can be turned by the wind
then read with your eyes closed;

butterflies stream out,
stunned to discover
they think just like you,
dab wings all over your face.
...


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