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This poem is taken from PN Review 31, Volume 9 Number 5, May - June 1983.

Poems Elizabeth Smither

Begin in blubber like the whale
That sounds the depths and spouts
A spume like an oracle.

So Peter near the brazier
Withdraws his hands half-warmed
His words fall over as the whale breaks.

But both are rocklike. Immersed in tears
Aids floatation. Dry Judas
Searches the nearest dying tree.
 

BOY LEARNING TO SHAVE

This is where Huxley rose to confront the bishop:
'Is it from your grandmother or grandfather's side
You claim descendance from an ape?
'

Maybe Huxley stroked his beard then
At least a little face fungus makes
Good ground cover for a prayer.
...


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