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This poem is taken from PN Review 19, Volume 7 Number 5, May - June 1981.

Three Poems Jean Earle

From the great compost heap glide four snakes
Out of hibernation-linked like the arms of girls,
Lengthy, alerted amazons,
Girls of rough silk.

The heap was their winter garment-journeying stars
Striking another, crowning star off the fork's tines
Forever stuck, angled to wet or frost.
In steamy lining of decay, the snakes drowsed
Knotted,
Mystic as Ogham
Over the wall, in the round churchyard.

Their gold-ringed eyes prick into spring,
Familiars and residents. This is their home.
But at their hour of emergence, the gardener naps.
About him, an ancient greenhouse falls,
Tinkle by tinkle: the ruined vine sinks lower.
...


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