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This poem is taken from PN Review 50, Volume 12 Number 6, July - August 1986.

Four Poems Gareth Reeves

VOLUNTARY

He taught me organ notes could be effervescent.
Up there he came into his own: hands pocketed,
slight feet skittering over the pedals,
he made even the bass pipes bubble arpeggios.
His voice rose and our squabbles subsided
as he explained the electric bellows, all its air-channels,
while his fingers went magically flicking the stops
and from deep inside came the tampings, untampings.

His sky-blue eyes were prankish.
Once he pincered a knob of sodium and gingerly
dropped it into the sink, shying from the small explosion.
When we forced water down the bunsen-burner nozzles
he tried to be angry, said the place would go up, Poof.
Misfired experiments didn't bother him; but his favourite,
the upward displacement of air, always worked.
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