Poem — Fleur Adcock

The Old Government Buildings There it sprawls, embodying magnitude – but also symmetry – not sure whether to label itself “buildings” or “building”. Dignity would demand the plural, but “Largest wooden building in the southern Hemisphere” denotes it as singular. Admittedly it doesn’t look wooden: it could be stone with a thick coat of paint (decorators’ beige, I regret to say) – which indeed must have been the ambition of the architect who designed it in “Italianate, Neo-Renaissance” style. Stone may look handsomely governmental but earthquakes crumble it. This wood still stands. What if certain portions of it are now,


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