Muir Holburn - Selected Poems

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The whistle slipped and slit the outer skin

Of Collins Street entangled in a skein

Of Night and Cold and Do Not. Unperceiving

The boy tramped jauntily to unsuccess.

But watchers saw the wound and ran for aid,

Summoned the ambulance, struggled to remember

What ‘ventral’ signified, and what ‘aorta’,

Exactly where you’d bind a tourniquet

Round such a casualty, a pretty street

Of houses extrakind and withered trees.

O painful half a loaf of beggar’s song,

The salt danced out of you and burnt and stung

A gaping century of high ideals.

No wonder when the typist passed next day

She thought she saw dejection in the sills

And brows of snooty chambers. So she blamed

Her diet, unaware the street was maimed.



Muir Holburn

Winter, mcmxliii







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