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This poem is taken from PN Review 177, Volume 34 Number 1, September - October 2007.

Three Poems James Womack

Political Philosophy

Like those frightened villages pocking the mountains
Who kept themselves pure when the plague came
By blocking the passes and locking the classroom
And knocking every stranger on the head
Before settling to a stretched hundred years of tedium,
The only way to be safe is to be content
Contained within yourself, allow no commerce.
Plant your allotment, raise a single pig
To give to its matanza when the time comes.
Marry your cousin and hunker down over winter.

When the rivers run free of contagion
And the sun shines from under a clearing sky
And the first narrow birds fly in from the valleys
You will want to break your exile
Roll back the boulders and unbar the gates.
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