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This poem is taken from PN Review 113, Volume 23 Number 3, January - February 1997.

Bottles in the Bombed City Les Murray


They gave the city a stroke. Its memories
are now cordoned off. They could collapse on you.

Water leaks into bricks of the Workers' century
and every meaning is blurred. No word in Roget

now squares with another. If the word is Manchester
it may be Australia, where that means sheets and towels.

To give the city a stroke, they mixed a lorryload
of henbane and meadowsweet oil and countrified her.

Now Engels supports Max, and the British Union
of beautiful ceramics is being shovelled up,

blue-green titles of the Corn Exchange,
gamboge bricks of the Royal Midland Hotel.

Unmelting ice everywhere, and loosened molecules.
When the stroke came, every bottle winked at its neighbour.

This poem is taken from PN Review 113, Volume 23 Number 3, January - February 1997.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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