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Another Country

‘Let us go to another country,
Not yours or mine,
And start again.’


To another country? Which?
One without fires, where fever
Lurks under leaves, and water
Is sold to those who thirst?
And carry drugs or papers
In our shoes to save us starving?


‘Hope would be our passport;
The rest is understood.’


Deserters of the vein
And true continuousness,
How should we face on landing
The waiting car, in snow or sand,
The alien capital?
Necessity forbids.


(Not that reproachful look!
So might violets
Hurt an old heart.)


This is that other country
We two populate,
Land of a brief and brilliant
Aurora, noon and night,
The stratosphere of love
From which we must descend,


And leaving this rare country
Must each to his own
Return alone.

by William Plomer, Collected Poems (London: Jonathan Cape, 1973)

With permission of the Estate of William Plomer, Duff Hart-Davis.