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Poetry Magnum Opus



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At the Centraal Station, Amsterdam,

she was locked in a row with some beefy boy,

blue-uniformed, blond-moustached, very pink

and flustered: Kotoba no mondae dessho ka?

Yoroshikereba, tsuyaku shimasu node …

She looked at me with furious black eyes

and in that moment it all began.


A small problem with a ticket, easily resolved,

then, Why do you speak such good Japanese?

It’s not that good, I smiled, I just live there,

Well you should learn to speak it better, she said,

thanks a lot for the help but you sound like an idiot.

That’s because I’m Irish, I said, and then she smiled

and said, look, let me buy you a coffee.


Things happened. Good old Amsterdam!

We’ve been married for twenty-five years

here in godawful lovely Nippon

and she still says I sound like an idiot,

some yokel boy just up from the country,

and I still say I’m Irish, it’s true, and she smiles

like then and strokes my cheek.

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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This is sweet. Nice plot development to shuttle us back and forth from yesterday and today.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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