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(12 June 1939 / Middlesbrough (Yorkshire))

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Earle Birney

No agèd tourist you
Explorer guide and ever young
Who in a magic land
Where trembling minds step warily
Can see horizons out of sight
Of ordinary men

But are you not like us
Do we not follow where you lead
And are we really strangers in this realm
That seems so surely ours

You take our souls
And show them glimpses of themselves

Yet as a tourist guide
You hardly fill the role
You seek no token of our thanks
But what a gratitude there is
And envy too
For one whose youth cannot grow old
For one whose spirit never dies

Submitted: Wednesday, December 05, 2012


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

On hearing a reading by the great Canadian poet, Earle Birney, towards the end of his life.

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