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This poem is taken from PN Review 231, Volume 43 Number 1, September - October 2016.

Five Poems C.K. Stead

The Moon

Five decades after he wrote them an old friend
sends back love poems and a letter. ‘Beautiful’
she calls them, but the letter makes her lament

the grief she gave. The critic in him cringes
at his sonnets’ lugubrious rhyming and
a plangent prose that owes too much to Gatsby.

Does he remember the writing? Faintly, yes
but as we recall the dead, or a landscape
of gold and shadows under a lambent moon.

There’s a smiling snap-shot too, a smouldering
twenty-year youth fond of ballroom dancing
and tennis. In the letter are dark streets

wet with rain, and he’s carrying flowers,
head full of her loving words just whispered
over the phone. But at her gate he sees
...


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