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This poem is taken from PN Review 38, Volume 10 Number 6, May - June 1984.

Letters Dennis Keene

Returning she finds it spring although the guests
Have still not come. These summer cottages
Are pink and blue, unsure, uncertain colours
Spread over brick and stone as light dew covers
The ragged lawns, the violent blind roses
Which must be painted down, set where they should
Be, which is where they are. She feels herself
Rehearsing something which is never done.

Resonances of autumn, temple bells,
The cold wind down the mountain side, all the
Enormity of time's dull apparatus
Turning the world to something else which is
Much as it was. This must be puberty,
The body tied for ever on this bed,
The wind rising and circling these still walls,
Rise and fall of the nightmare in the breast.


Eventually I have to admit that my past has become alien to me. The buildings here in Oxford, for example, have lost all sense of the weight I am certain they once had. Seen from the hill they seem something, but when I draw close they appear to drift inside themselves leaving a shell more unreal since it has been cleaned. If I move back in time the whole floats slowly upward.

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