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September Song

Geoffrey Hill

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Added by: Phil Poole
In the poem, smoke reaches the speaker's eyes from an autumn garden fire and he thinks of a victim of the holocaust, gassed by zyklon B and cremated. The poem attempts a balance between strong feeling and a cold awareness of the harshness of historical fact and admits in parenthesis that it is the thought of mortality that is most disturbing. It is difficult to write an honest poem about Auschwitz without becoming melodramatic and having too obvious designs on the reader's sympathy. The poem avoids these traps at the risk of being too short.

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