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Spellbound

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Two women on a train
sit beside me.

I am young and the world
is flying and I am watching.

One of them is frosty.
The other turns like a leaf

to hand me something —
it looked for all the world like a page.

I thought at the time
that it needed me and I was right.

The letters fell into place
and simple flowers grew.

Now it talks unceasingly
in long white verses

as if at a wedding,
something women understand

and gently want and then regift.
I myself agree with Herbert,

who in a dark mood conjured
the mushrooms underfoot

unseen by bride or groom
and with him I say, Perhaps

the world is unimportant
after all, though this is not

what one discusses with
women on a train, no matter

how long the journey,
or untroubled the land.

Source: Poetry (January 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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Spellbound

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