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This poem is taken from PN Review 63, Volume 15 Number 1, September - October 1988.

The Dance of Death Patricia Beer

The dance of death set out from home
Sixty years ago. The man with the scythe
Was first out of the door.

Between hedges his coat hung lifeless
As he stalked along the lane my mother
Thought she had chosen.

One Saturday afternoon walk led
Up to the common, past the hill-fort
Where the Dumnonii,

Facing the wrong way, were slaughtered
Beside their heaps of sling-shot, by a foe
They had not expected.

Today looking across from another hill
I see the five of us once more.
Now we are dancing.

A yellow ribbon stretches along the skyline
As though the grey air and the dark earth
...


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