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This poem is taken from PN Review 147, Volume 29 Number 1, September - October 2002.

The State of the Prisons Sinéad Morrissey

A History of John Howard, Prison Reformer, 1726-1790

As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness:
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
                                                           Psalm 17:15


I

I am a stranger and a pilgrim here.
I burn my letters, decline a monument, take heart
from the body's incontinence. The spirit departs.
The field hospitals of Russia with their horrendous dead
must carry me home to the Lord my Maker
where all my fathers' fathers stand assembled.

I see these soldiers' faces when I sleep.
And then they cloud and clear again as the child's
who stopped me on the road to ask the time
and tried to steal my watch. How sick she is.
...


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