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This poem is taken from PN Review 85, Volume 18 Number 5, May - June 1992.

A Plain Man's Guide to the Millenium Iain Bamforth

For Douglas Shenson
Vikings are doomed in deeper latitudes
but starlings can still be tracked to a window-ledge
in a city moored like the Marie Celeste
on the edge of America, an economy that upends
for a cartesian view of the plumbline;
under celluloid, a pure conjectural haze.

Out of the coughing rooms on Ellis Island
soars a manic whisper of the ideal mind.
Gawk-eyed tourists congregate on a granite bed
as the electorate dismisses its refugee councillors
to watch another airy masterpiece
on the six basic rules of Esperanto grammar.

Recently it has all hardened into permanent lateness,
crying back to the stern-faced fathers;

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