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This poem is taken from PN Review 219, Volume 41 Number 1, September - October 2014.

Jerusalem Poems James K. Baxter
1

I wait for an hour in the car at Parakino
While Father Te Awhitu catechises the children,

That gentle priest – these mild green hummocked hills
Are a herd of bulls, the toughs from Bashan

Waiting to tear me to pieces – dear John,
I have my old rucksack loaded with provisions

From Wanganui – bread, sardines, bread,
Biscuits, chocolate, even oysters – how can I be poor

When the gut rumbles after a day’s digging
On milk and watercress? So bitter an enemy

Never was known, brother, as I am to myself,
The tarantula hidden in the rock! And now I possess

The Jerusalem Psalms Father Caulfield bought for me,
Robbing myself yet again of mental poverty.


2

Yet if they wanted to share out what I am wearing
It would not go far among them – first, the quilted coat
...


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