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james mcgonigal
Poet  •  Critic

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          Stabat Mater

Sharp strokes of rain
          on a tree trunk.

Climbing the hill where gentians blow
          I have stepped from the wood to the clouds.

Now a redbreast sings a soft treble
          from the beech, bloody in leaf.

I had a mother
          who buttoned my coat against the wind

and watched me go. Seagulls
          ascending across the sun, birds of passage

in their enormous world,
          have gone, each one

a handkerchief, that wiped a face
          and flew away.

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