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This poem is taken from PN Review 89, Volume 19 Number 3, January - February 1993.

The Sound of Shining Rodney Pybus

(for Jaroslava Niederlová; Prague, 14 August 1990)

So many years in grey uniform had made them believe
The time was over for dawdling in cobbled streets,
Too many alleys back into the old quarters of speech

Blocked by piles of rooted-up setts, even in this city
Leafed with the light of its fallen baroque,
Whose courtyards and hidden gardens still offer

Sun-dials as aides-mémoire. The days were wardens
Keeping time, saying No, there are no avenues
Where you can still feel the hope of leaving,

Just for a minute, the straight, sad route of your selves.
(Nevertheless, hope did stir, softly as a moth,
A Small Dusty Wave, say, or a Hebrew Character.)

Now these wardens would agree there was a night
We sprawled, overflowing, down the marble steps
And landings of a tower like extras in a film,
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