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This poem is taken from PN Review 40, Volume 11 Number 2, November - December 1984.

The Ikons of the Dead George Barker


But was there time? No,
      there was never time.
There was only the breath
exhaled by the first burning
babe from a cloud, lasting
the whole of one flaming moment
before the ashes fell.


Where was the place? The place
    was not here.
Some far where else the
    celebration of bells,
    the house of sacred things,
the rider on the bull, the dying
    serpent's tears,
    the peacock crying
and, like knives in the sky,
   extraordinary wings.

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