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This poem is taken from PN Review 58, Volume 14 Number 2, November - December 1987.

Four Poems Donald Davie

The Ironist

'Sacred? or sacrosanct?
or sanctimonious, even?
Suppose you chose these topics
(which, you will say, chose you),
hoping to escape
the debilitating scope
of your kind in your time and place:

irony.'

It is Lord Haw-haw speaking;
it is Mephistophilis speaking,
the syphilitic; it is
Germany speaking.

A masterly ironist
of history knows
his subject inside out;
...


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