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This poem is taken from PN Review 83, Volume 18 Number 3, January - February 1992.

Three Poems Roy Fisher

BIRMINGHAM RIVER

Where's Birmingham river? Sunk.
Which river was it? Two. More or less.
History: we're on our tribal ground.
When they moved in from the Trent, the first English

entered the holdings and the bodies of the people
who called the waters that kept them alive

Tame, the Dark River; these English spread their works
southward then westward, then all ways

for thirty-odd miles, up to the damp tips of the thirty-odd
weak headwaters of the Tame. By all of the Tame

they settled, and sat, named themselves after it:
Tomsaetan. And back down at Tamworth, where the
    river

almost began to amount to something,
the Mercian kings kept their state. Dark
...


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