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This poem is taken from PN Review 33, Volume 10 Number 1, September - October 1983.

Merriland Charles Boyle


'But at the end of that road, after the tall white trunks of forest trees, after the forest gloom, the creepers, the large, heart-shaped leaves, the ferns and wild palms and wild bananas; after that, there was no settlement, no town, only a vast amusement area, a concrete playground in the mist: a toy lake, toy walks, toy trains, a hotel and a casino.'
V.S. Naipaul, Among the Believers


A child beckons. You say: 'The cakes here are excellent'
but your companion disagrees, last spring she was in Vienna
and wishes to tell you again. . . .
                         If you feel cold
the water also is ruffled, anxious, and you might be about to
change your mind completely, to leave at once
pleading pressure of work, when a tray of imported cigarettes,
key-rings and transistor radios appears at your side.
A hand - yours - rises in the merest of dismissals.
You and she both smile. It is her birthday after all and truly,
with your hand now upon her rings, we have come far
to be here: flowers, a lake with small boats, a casino
and restaurant where the finest, most expensive belly-dancer
...


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