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This poem is taken from PN Review 223, Volume 41 Number 5, May - June 2015.

Poems by Liviu Campanu, from The Ovid Complex
(Romania, 1932-1994)
Patrick McGuinness
National Holiday

The gypsies came last week: like locusts they denuded the town,
and only through the spate of burglaries in Ovid Square
did we realise we’d had anything to steal.

They were all noise – noise on the eye, with their deafening
scarves and dresses, their marginals’ swagger and lope –
but the gypsies never made a sound.

All we heard was the axle of an unoiled cartwheel,
the jingle of utensils in their rolling kitchen-caravans,
and the grince of shop signs waiting for a breeze to swing in.

That night I dreamed of locusts with gypsy violins,
blunt grasshopper faces with headlamp eyes
and a fizz of Romany strings.

Next morning, I registered my typewriter at the local copshop,
took the old words for walk around my head: petrol, steak, coffee, dentist, news…  
and found them difficult to rouse.
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