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This poem is taken from PN Review 78, Volume 17 Number 4, March - April 1991.

Three Poems Michael Hamburger

AT THE ASSUMPTION OF JOHN CLARE TO WESTMINSTER ABBEY

To walk four nights, three days with one good
  shoe -
That he got through,
Sustained by chewed tobacco and plucked grass:
Such trials pass.
And, walking, let your fancies, wishes drift -
Small slide, small shift.
Cut off, to a dead son convey your love,
That they call madness
Though absence is the only death we know
And live in that when into it they shove
One whom a different absence - elms laid low -
Had robbed of gladness.
In mind alone fit out his cottage farm -
That did him harm.
To love the dead girl like the living woman
And the dead son
Was to live on a little, almost human
...


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