Showing A Czech Poet the City

In great rain coming up Newport Road  
with Miroslav, unbattered by circumstance
looking for another beer and a bed. 
The poems had danced from his books, riddling the air. 
A flock of angels in the sky. 
Poems are songs in my country, he said.
I told him they were here too. The rains filled the gutters
swamping our feet. 

At the crummy hotel, best I could afford, he was unfazed. 
This is fine, he said. We went up the stone steps
the gutters doing it above. The owner
opened the door and smiled us in. Behind
her water was cascading down the
stairs from some missing slate  
above and then filling the hall.
She smiled weakly. To fix it was beyond her.
Ahh, shouted Miroslav. I am from Plzeň. This does not matter.
All hotels are like this back home. 


Peter Finch





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