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This poem is taken from PN Review 72, Volume 16 Number 4, March - April 1990.

Hazard Pure or Simple James Kirkup

Somewhere, somehow,
a shadow falls unseen
across a desk, a page
of smudged graph paper
where a scholar
does endless sums
and spells one name
a thousand ways
or draws dead maps
of lands remoted from day.

The shadow's teacher
moves, and a hand
hefts a bamboo cane
that descends slowly
upon real knuckles,
draws the blood
...


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