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More poems by Eavan BolandEavan Boland | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments (1) | Books by Eavan BolandBooks by Eavan Boland

Quarantine

Eavan Boland

In the worst hour of the worst season
    of the worst year of a whole people
a man set out from the workhouse with his wife.
He was walking-they were both walking-north.

She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up.
    He lifted her and put her on his back.
He walked like that west and north.
Until at nightfall under freezing stars they arrived.

In the morning they were both found dead.
    Of cold. Of hunger. Of the toxins of a whole history.
But her feet were held against his breastbone.
The last heat of his flesh was his last gift to her.

Let no love poem ever come to this threshold.
    There is no place here for the inexact
praise of the easy graces and sensuality of the body.
There is only time for this merciless inventory:

Their death together in the winter of 1847.
    Also what they suffered. How they lived.
And what there is between a man and a woman.
And in which darkness it can best be proved.


Submitted by Raine

Added: 14 Oct 2002 | Last Read: 24 Jan 2018 4:39 AM | Viewed: 10114 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/7776/ | Viewed on 24 January 2018.
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