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Stephen Keeler, Ullapool

Poems on the Buses Exhibition

Xi’an, 1981
For Yu Xi

Four decades since I lived in the Far East
where yellow dust blew in each night from off
the Gobi and my students wrapped themselves
in cotton rags and carried tiny stools
to class and sat like circus elephants
practising their tricks
memorising English the way some nations
made the decision to re-arm

beyond the city walls on gentle slopes
the modest cherry trees began to swell
like baking loaves and after every day
of rain in spring she said the temperature
rises one degree
a kind deceit I chose to believe for ever.