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This poem is taken from PN Review 174, Volume 33 Number 4, March - April 2007.

The Glacial Stairway Peter Riley

First Part

This is me 48 years ago, this is 48 of my years, the same valley
the same sky's water crashing down the gully the same
striving uphill, taking the strain, lumping the luggage.
48 years, something happened in the world, what was it?
Intentions conjoined and dispersed, soldiers died.

Then I was young and in company, now we tread the steep paths together,
two experiences conjoined. And we note as we did not then
the flowers all around and the silence full of the sound of falling water,
the closing hopes as the air opens before us. We raise out of this air
the names that stand behind us as we go: birds, flowers, insects,
villages, everything we have, and the dead of seven wars.

To walk with thought in the very muscle, of answering, thought of
Un mundo mejor es posible , taking the strain of disappointment by the thrush's
peal of pain in the dark wood. From which we emerge into the open valley,
and the thought of a possible saying, that must be true and must do good,
...


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