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This poem is taken from PN Review 12, Volume 6 Number 4, March - April 1980.

Two Poems Clive Wilmer

of John Taverner

Suppose a man were dying and this sound
Washed over him: it would be like, not sleep,
Not dream, but setting eyes for the first time
On the world, ours, yet other. For the sense
Of things would be the things themselves and words
Would gem the melismatic harmony
Rarely, articulating it. The mind-
In a language, the great mass of whose words
Are shattered into vagrant syllables
By gay polyphony - would edge towards
The scope of revelation, which is speechless.
Now, in the place of death, an angel sits
And speaks to three who mourn of interim,
Announces that the second day is done.

This was the world: the word.

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