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This poem is taken from PN Review 45, Volume 12 Number 1, September - October 1985.

Requiem: R.C.B. Anne Ridler

Lichen coats the pear-tree bark.
   Sap must still make shift to rise.
   Under skin a touch will bruise
Blood commutes in ceaseless journeys;
   Occult word that gives release
      Never conscious mind has spoken.

The animal is fain to die,
   The soul prepares an end, but still
   A hidden tyrant thwarts the will.
Yet he must yield, we know, though none
   Returns to share the secret, tell
      How at the last his power was broken.

- - - - - - -

Patient face upon the pillow
   We have seen our last of you,
Yet have not taken leave; we find
   Loss brings the subject closer, as
      The telephoto lens
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