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Under the death of winter's leaves he lies

who cried to Nothing and the terrible night

to be his home and bread. "O take from me

the weight and waterfall ceaseless Time

that batters down my weakness; the knives of light

whose thrust I cannot turn; the cruelty

of human eyes that dare not touch nor pity."

Under the worn leaves of the winter city

safe in the house of Nothing now he lies.

His white and burning girl, his woman of fire,

creeps to his heart and sets a candle there

to melt away the flesh that hides from bone,

to eat the nerve that tethers him in time.

He will lie warm until the bone is bare

and on a dead dark moon he wakes alone.

It was for Death he took her; death is but this;

and yet he is uneasy under her kiss

and winces from that acid of her desire.

By Judith Wright

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