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This poem is taken from PN Review 36, Volume 10 Number 4, March - April 1984.

Poor Boy: Portrait of a Painting John Ash
Difficult to say what all of this is all about.
Being young. Or simply arrogance, lack of patience -

a misunderstanding about what the word maturity
can mean when exchanged among 'real' adults -.

I don't know what kind of plant that is, but it
is green and has a small red flower

and the glass it strives towards is latticed,
yellowish and cracked. Beyond it

roofs are bunched together like boats
in a popular harbour
and through it the inevitable light falls. . . .

And the light is art! It is arranged so,
over the bed and the pale dead boy,
his astonishing red hair, the shirt rumpled like sculpture,

the breeches. . . . The breeches are a problem:
no one can decide whether they are blue
or mauve. Versions differ. But the light
...


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