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

The Goodbyes John Ash
1 Again, the weather's wrecked the picnic.
  All those drenched frocks,
  tomato slices in flooded bowls -

  so English! the clouds, the downpour
  as evasive terms
  for a continuing epic of bad faith
  and commonplace ill-feeling. . . .

2 Yes, something has changed
  irreversibly. It speaks out of silence
  like a radio announcer
  off-cue. Time to remove the varnish? Yes. . . .

3 All departures cancelled:
  the pillars in the painting are grey
  and the sails of fishing boats
  drawn in with no hope of unfurling, -
  blue cranes of the container-depot
...


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