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Mercian Hymns XXV

Brooding on the eightieth letter of Fors Clavigera, I speak this in
Memory of my grandmother, whose childhood and prime womanhood were spent
In the nailer’s darg.

The nailshop stood back of the cottage, by the fold. It reeked stale
Mineral sweat. Sparks had furred its low roof. In dawn-light the
Troughed water floated a damson-bloom of dust –

Not to be shaken by posthumous clamour. It is one thing to celebrate the
‘quick forge’, another to cradle a face hare-lipped by the searing wire.

Brooding on the eightieth letter of Fors Clavigera, I speak this in
Memory of my grandmother, whose childhood and prime womanhood were spent
In the nailer’s darg.


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Poem Mercian Hymns XXV - Geoffrey Hill