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This poem is taken from PN Review 137, Volume 27 Number 3, January - February 2001.

Termites Greg Woods

for Allegra and Nicholas

Part One


Reading again after twenty years or more
The Soul of the White Ant, Eugène Marais' mix
            of scientific observation
      and strangely beguiling flights of madness,

I pause at the passages I underlined
to no apparent purpose - unless I knew
            my older self would be back, nothing
      to do, some dreary evening, leafing

through musty paperbacks most of whose best use
is to soundproof the alcoves between his house
            and next door, and would need directions
      to the bons mots most worth underlining -

and I find I was reading an author of
my own devising, no scientist but just
            a quirky kind of poet, happy

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