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This poem is taken from PN Review 100, Volume 21 Number 2, November - December 1994.

Five Poems Roger Garfitt

The Hooded Gods

Three male gods of healing, fertility, and the underworld, from a
stone plaque in Housesteads Museum, Hadrian's Wall.

These are the odds and sods among the gods,
the other ranks, the omnipresences,
teamen, charmen, male midwives: the daily helps
from history's basement, the caretakers

who rarely come to light. They have become
their deliverances, their many hands
beneath notice and now beyond telling.
They surface from the sleep of history

whose care suffuses history like sleep,
powers of recovery and repair
who keep the middle watch, the graveyard shift,
the seamsters who knit up the ravelled sleeve.

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