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“Two women and a small girl— perhaps three or four years old—resting in the shade of the fir trees. From far off the roar of the world coming back one more time. First a few words tossed back and forth between awakening men and then the machines talking to themselves in the language they share with the heavenly bodies— planets, dust motes, distant solar systems— that know what needs to be done and do it. So long ago, you think, those days, so unlike these, blessed by favorable winds and forgotten in the anthems we hummed on the long walk home from work or the childish fables we tried to believe. No one notices the small girl and her caretakers are gone and no one huddles in the shade of the fir trees. The air, brilliant and calm, stays to witness, the single cloud lost between heaven and here stays, the mountains look down and keep their distance, somewhere far off the sea goes on working for itself. By the waters of the Llobregat no one sits down to weep for the children of the world, by the Ebro, the Tagus, the Guadalquivir, by the waters of the world no one sits down and weeps.”

Philip Levine


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