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This poem is taken from PN Review 212, Volume 39 Number 6, July - August 2013.

My Worn Pamphlets Closed Again on the Name Paphos

for Christopher Middleton
Gabriel Levin
Periplus


Skirting the Lydian coastline, calling at Samos,
Cos, Rhodes, then tacking east before keeling
over - eyes peeled for the port, amphorae,
almond jars, and millstones lashed in the hold,
doubling as ballast; remember Alcaeus: 'One more
cresting billow dashing against the timber
sends us scrambling to bale out the bilge-water';

the lead sheathing of no use to the salvaged
wreck I'm looking at: 'let all hands buttress the sides
quickly as possible', reads the scrap of papyrus,
and the moving: 'let no one be seized by (soft?)
fear,' though opinion will differ on the riddling
lines: were the high seas a reckless tyrant's buffetings
or those of desire, charged with forgetfulness.



Numenius ON THE GOOD
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