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Botanic garden

weighing up my words to you -
silent couples drifting to and fro,
beds of fallen leaves, the naked trees,
the blooms of fences blue as verdigris,
the light like wax, aristocratic, pale -
i saw the greenhouse on the hill,
glass, white ribs and fin de siècle,
and recalled those skeletons of whales,
how as a child i'd crane my neck to see them
hovering, it seemed, in the museum,

hung from ceilings on transparent threads,
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