Muir Holburn - Selected Poems

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The good nun rode in a basin of wan light

In the corner of a train, crossing the high bridge at evening.

Beads brittly clicking, stinted hands exploring

The basketwork seat, the diocese of dust.

Grey eyes devolve and detour down havenways, perceive

Lust lurk on isthmus, passion pollute the peninsular,

Red lampshades squeak under arbour, whilst sky-light signs

with toasted colours advise pyjamas in preference

To bananas, and exhaustion at midmorning. O

Noli tangere the flesh of the beast, vilely scorching with life

So the turgid houses, so the envenomed bays, so

Murmurs a good nun crossing a high bridge at the evening,

Sitting in a cradle of wan light,

Hoping the beads will save all at the close.

Blood runs to wax and love becomes ceramic. The

carriage air

boils up, caves in most dangerously with

her sighing.








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