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Mark Abley

Mark Abley won an 1981 Eric Gregory Award for his poems. ‘Lhasa, 1950’ was inspired by Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer.

Poem: ‘Lhasa, 1950’

Mark Abley, 20 May 1982

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You had a month to play with kites, a season to play with water and a night when statues of butter stood frozen on a passing street.

You had a government that banned football and mah jongh and a people who’d obey.

You had a market where the rich and their retinue could buy the fresh forbidden meat, Bing Crosby’s latest disc, silk scarves to give away.

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Only 12,000 feet in the...

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