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This poem is taken from PN Review 74, Volume 16 Number 6, July - August 1990.

Guillotine 1989 Patricia Beer

In nineteen-eighty-nine we recall a revolution.
From those street lamps you could not hang anybody
Yet mobs dance under them. World leaders talk
Revolution. Hermits fantasise. The word is in the air.

Here in the country it is raining. Did they use
The guillotine when it was raining? Would it work?
Certainly all that knitting would get wet, and cold drops
Strike the neckbones before the slanting blade did.

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