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Near Sochi

for Andrei Voznesensky

Lynx-lithe, a concentrate of light
Swoops, sudden, through the headland firs,
Claws slashing the soft lens of sight.
Even the thewed slope shakes and blurs.

The sun’s outflanked the earlier shade
Of foliage with a horizontal
Blaze. Half-blind, we turn and wade
Through photon-seethe to our hotel.

But soon we’re over the effects
Of the harsh cosmos breaking through.
Fish from the bay, dry wine, sweet sex,
Then the veranda, whence we view

For now, a dimmer, different world
That wildness tamed; – while over there
The ground beneath the trees lies curled
Up like a hibernating bear.

Robert Conquest

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