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This poem is taken from PN Review 9, Volume 6 Number 1, September - October 1979.

Foreign Fall Michael Hamburger

How did you spend them, all those months and weeks?

And days and hours and minutes? They spent me.
Now massed, now one by one, down the long avenues
Cars flowed, flowed in and out, or stopped, or parked.
Throughout September, above the roofs of cars
Butterflies, monarchs, flapped wings all art nouveau
To flee, still to migrate, by panic or suction changed
To hovercraft until, released, they flopped
On to a shrub, if any, on to tarmac, and died.

OK. OK. Inside the cars were men
Or women, doubtless, children perhaps, who went
Where human beings go, about their business. Right?
And so did you. So did the butterflies
.

In other streets, anachronistically,
Were those who moved their legs, slowly or fast.
And there were those, the winos and the bums,
...


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