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This poem is taken from PN Review 91, Volume 19 Number 5, May - June 1993.

Four Poems Gareth Reeves


Write down in your own words what the poet means by …
'Means, my foot. It means what I bloody well wrote,'
barked father when they set him for O Level prac. crit.

A student erupts in a seminar
'Why do we end up arguing what a poem's about?'
Touché; to fill the silence …

'And your suggestion?'
A poem should not mean but be etcetera?
A machine made of words, a sort of divine gadgetry?

Ambition was out, trust to inspiration:
over a bottle one evening, beneath his outdoor awning
father set up a recitative:

'I shall go down for the odd limpid lyric.
Let's drink to that.'

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