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I walked into a shop and there was Don,

So hunted by the year that passed, or so,

But Don had aged so fast and yet so slow:

The year had saw him with his boots undone:


Foxglove steeples championed by the sun

Lay brown upon victorious snow;

And foal-like streams that chomped the stones below

The hoar has cramped and mist its spring-time fun.


His hair was ebony--copious as new moon,

But subtle seasons' tide and morning's light

Have snowed up, stormed and snared the longest night:

Stern, charcoaled features grew benign so soon.


The lion chortled snow-high on the mountain-tops,

But simpers now like low-laid dust and frost.

The moustache--pupa from the smile reversed--

Sits over his gape like snow on harebelled copse.


His fingers scraped among the shelved sweetmeats,

Old eagle's talons claw in sad foray

When scowling on the misty crags for prey

And think a treat a hare of battered sheep,


Sorry when their appalled state has known its last

To the care of weather's vehemency

Which grinned at mad-vented inclemency

And reign over crags with riddled, demented blast.


The mighty bird refuses to bow or stoop,

His head held high and eye of lordly fire,

Though western winds round gorges never tire.

The captain sinks with eye stretched o'er the poop.


Though none now feels his heated furnace blast--

His hardened craftsmanship turned overblown and loose,

He'll soon be a-quivering, pensioned-off recluse,

But hammers strike still on his heart-worn last.


They set, I fear, someone else upon.

Giving up choice, he prepares to depart

And I see hammers striking a different heart:

Because that man I have seen is no more Don.


Like us all, he paddles life's rapids the same,

Is a grain in the pearl of clamm├ęd mankind.

Ourselves, with its love, together must bind

And all must play by the rules of that game.

D Crossley 44 89 01 09

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