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This poem is taken from PN Review 30, Volume 9 Number 4, March - April 1983.

Pré-Alps Michael Hamburger

for André du Bouchet

1.
Fore-alps I understood but meadow-alps we walked,
Lush with the many-shaped, the many-coloured clovers,
Vetches and marguerites, confusion of orchid kinds
And at the ryefield verges a foretime marriage
Of purest blue with scarlet, cornflower and poppy,
Though the wild sage could summon a still deeper blue,
Golden-eyed white was sweetest, gave out the heaviest fragrance
When wind or breeze ran loose among narcissus heads:
Persephone's meadows no farmer can quite possess.
His little herd or flock may crop the flora moist,
In winter munch the essences held in hay,
But mountainside, fallen rock, ravine where the spring waters
Creep through low leafage, gurgling, gather or cascade
Keep the man frugal, his narrow pastures rich,
Wildflowers outshone, outglittered by the wings of beetle,
...


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