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GREEN, A Litany

green in the midst of drab desolation
green ‘til the tide in the street overflows
green that preserves green's green reputation
green behind curtains, like cellist & bow


green on occasions no green is permissible
green by inversion a negative flame
green in final disgrace & dismissal
green where the gravedigger shoulders his spade


green like the walls of Verlaine's Belgium prison
green woods, wolf & poet meeting on equal foot
green like embroidery on old smoking-jackets
covered with needlepoint dragons & soot


green like a murderer gone to the guillotine
green like the lawns of this land breaking through
our windows in herbicide frenzy to taunt us
green like the tarnish on brass tiger shoes


green the result of choice or of chance
green when the famished, the hopeful despair
green that we have no hope of outguessing
green for which always we must be prepared

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