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This poem is taken from PN Review 16, Volume 7 Number 2, November - December 1980.

Richmond Lattimore

I choose this poem because, in addition to the often proved skill with rhyme, it displays and combines two of Richards's special talents: his way of pinning down what can not be pinned down, namely in this case time, which is the spendthrift; and his way with prepositions and adverbs, through which we come to the heart of the poem. '. . . As if in debt, in love/With then,/ In fear of here ;/Though everywhere/Is here, when there ;/And presently/This "this" is all the rest.'

No one else could do that.

Spendthrift by I. A. Richards

Home again?
How?
How timorously
My wishes climb
The overhanging if
Or when;
How perilously.

So. Let them be.
Let me not be
A while-keeper
Who keeps accounts with time.

Come again?
Gone!
On, anywhere-
As if hard-pressed,
As if in debt, in love
With then,
In fear of here;
Though everywhere
Is here, when there;
And presently
...


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