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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Butcher's Son - Thom Gunn


Mr Pierce the butcher

Got news his son was missing

About a month before

The closing of the war.

A bald man, tall and careful,

He stood in his shop and found

No bottom to his sadness,

Nowhere for it to stop.

When my aunt came through the door

Delivering the milk,

He spoke, with his quiet air

Of a considerate teacher,

But words weren't up to it,

He turned back to the meat.

The message was in error.

Later that humid summer

At a local high school fete,

I saw, returned, the son

Still in his uniform.

Mr Pierce was not there

But was as if implied

In the son who looked like him

Except he had red hair.

For I recall him well

Encircled by his friends,

Beaming a life charged now

Doubly because restored,

And recall also how

Within his hearty smile

His lips contained his father's

Like a light within the light

That he turned everywhere.

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