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A cold and stormy morning

   I sit in Ursula's place

and fancy something spicy

   served with the usual grace

by one of her bright workforce

   who know us from before,

a nice girl from Tbilisi,

   Penang or Baltimore.

Some red basil linguine

   would surely hit the spot,

something light and shiny,

   mint-yoghurty and hot;

a frosty but delightful

   pistachio ice-cream

and some strong herbal

   infusion wreathed in steam.

Once a tomato sandwich

   and a pint of stout would do

but them days are over.

   I want to have a go

at some amusing fusion

   Thai and Italian both,

a dish of squid and pine-nuts

   simmered in lemon broth,

and catch the atmospherics,

   the happy lunchtime crowd,

as the cold hand gets warmer

   and conversation loud.

Boats strain at sea, alas,

   gales rattle the slates

while inside at Ursula's

   we bow to our warm plates.

At Ursula's

Derek Mahon

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translated from the Spanish written by
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