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for Seamus

What’s the Greek for boat,

You ask, old friend,

Fellow voyager

Approaching Ithaca –

Oh, flatulent sails,

Wave-winnowing oars,

Shingle-scrunching keel –

But, so close to home,

There’s a danger always

Of amnesiac storms,

Waterlogged words.

19 July 2011


Michael Longley

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translated from the Ukrainian written by
Halyna Kruk