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This poem is taken from PN Review 220, Volume 41 Number 2, November - December 2014.

Letter to an Elderly Poet’ and Other Poems Miles Burrows
Letter to an Elderly Poet

Better to be writing your will again,
To be feasting in the great hall by firelight
Playing the harp to your grandchildren.
What is that terrible cry at the end of the garden?
It has gone now.
Could have been birds. Wild geese perhaps.
Let your trembling hand draw an expressive line.
Consider the scuffs on the risers of the stairs,
The dent of the doorknob hitting the wall
Always at the same place. Unpurse your lips.
You are not writing prescriptions.
Nor falling downstairs in a foreign language.
Practise the smile of the Indian swami.
Relax, your rivals are dead.
At least you’re not in a Mexican motel.
Hang up the picture of a Chinese sage
...


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