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This poem is taken from PN Review 35, Volume 10 Number 3, January - February 1984.

Poems P.J. Kavanagh

LATE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Elizabeth Pritchard, Elizabeth Pritchard, Liz,
We never know who we shall miss.
Some dead leave a gap that heals over, others leave presences.
Last summer I teased when you filled every corner
With froths of wild grasses
And when you froze to a statue under our tentative swallows
I teased you, but later when scything the grasses
It was your everywhere reverent vases
I saw, not the rankness I cut.
And in bird-empty wind when I tread on the swallows' messes
Which lie on the floor of the shed still, even in winter,
It is never the birds I remember
But you, Elizabeth. In December I nod to
The stones you put to guard willow-herb, like it or not,
As though the degree of your care for the small and abandoned
...


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