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Stephen Spender

(28 February 1909 – 16 July 1995 / England)

A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map


A stopwatch and an ordnance map.
At five a man fell to the ground
And the watch flew off his wrist
Like a moon struck from the earth
Marking a blank time that stares
On the tides of change beneath.
All under the olive trees.
A stopwatch and an ordnance map.
He stayed faithfully in that place
From his living comrade split
By dividers of the bullet
Opening wide the distances
Of his final loneliness.

All under the olive trees.
A stopwatch and an ordnance map.
And the bones are fixed at five
Under the moon's timelessness;
But another who lives on
Wears within his heart forever
Space split open by the bullet.
All under the olive trees.

Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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