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The Animals, by Edwin Muir

They do not live in the world,

Are not in time and space.

From birth to death hurled

No word do they have, not one

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To plant a foot upon,

Were never in any place.

For with names the world was called

Out of the empty air,

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With names was built and walled,

Line and circle and square,

Dust and emerald;

Snatched from deceiving death

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By the articulate breath.

But these have never trod

Twice the familiar track,

Never never turned back

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Into the memoried day.

All is new and near

In the unchanging Here

On the fifth great day of God,

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That shall remain the same,

Never shall pass away.

On the sixth day we came.

From “Lament for the Makers: A Memorial Anthology” by W. S. Merwin. (Counterpoint: 89 pp., $19) Copyright 1996 Reprinted by permission.

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