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This poem is taken from PN Review 6, Volume 5 Number 2, January - March 1979.

The Pleasure Steamers Andrew Motion

I.

It's blowing cold from the east,
but still, they're working tonight
on the steamers, more shadows than men:
each canvas peels back like a chrysalis,

benches are turned to the view
in dusty saloons. It's as if I were
watching last summer restored. Or more
than last summer. The name picked out

in lights from the bridge is one
my father saw, lying offshore
in 1940, from France-Mapledurham
dark red for safety, and home.

Soon I'll take his place.
And though I've no danger
of dying, having no cause,
I'll look from the varnished deck
...


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