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This poem is taken from PN Review 126, Volume 25 Number 4, March - April 1999.

Spending the Night in the Temple Matthew Francis

'Many dreams, they accepted, were heaven-sent The gods themselves spoke directly with the dreamer Dreams were courted deliberately in temples with special incubatory chambers, from the Britons' Lydney in Kent to the great centres at Pergamum and Aigai in Asia.'

Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians



As we walk up the hill the sun carries on setting
as for a normal night. We enter the precincts
almost a crowd and knock with its last red on
a small door that shelters in a great one.

We test the spaces with our footsteps,
small ones and great ones, dimnesses
that harden in the torchlight.

This room feels full of us.
Non-noise of blankets.

The settling place.

*

We can still manage some horizontal courtesies,
a handshake blanket to blanket, half of a smile
...


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