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This poem is taken from PN Review 218, Volume 40 Number 6, July - August 2014.

‘Seferis Among the Agapanthus’ and Other Poems Michael Mott
Seferis Among the Agapanthus

Ambassador, always, to the griefs of Greece,
you claim these flowers your own in second exile
by calling them the ‘asphodels of blacks’.

Blue darkened with violet blue, or white,
not quite the colours of your flag, the root
a lovecharm for a Xhosa bride, the flower a guide

to everlasting exile. Stems like shafts
mark out a silent Iliad, Tshaka with no Homer,
the wetting of the spears at Isandlwana

and all the levels of the dead before the Zulus.
Nine buried Africas prop up Pretoria’s streets
of offices and jacaranda trees, typists, fans

that shave the air in butchers’ slices, ticking
off time not spent in Athens, or near Smyrna,
hours of the asphodels, whites’ agapanthus.
...


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