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What loss was there,

what vacancies accumulate

just silence and the shaping rain

that drops through space untenanted

by watchful mothers' anxious pose

a waiting father's harbor-hands

these arms that running child enclose

can tell, just they explain.

Drums should have rolled out our taking

massed horns blared it,

a blasphemed city risen

as the sky split and supernal voices cried

This may not be.

But not

the obscene tranquillity

of a street swept of dirt and alarm

its sleepers calmly blanketed

its long face shuttered, complacent

as pigeons under the linden trees

as we crunched past the corner,

already transported,

for a last look back

Version originally published in Hudson River Anthology (Spring 1976) (first of a 5-poem cycle)

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