National Poetry Month: April 16th

April 16, 2010

Quarantine by Eavan Boland

In the worst hour of the worst season
  of the worst year of a whole people
a man set out from the workhouse with his wife.
He was walking north–they were both walking–north.
She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up.
  He lifted her and put her on his back.
He walked like that west and north.
Until at nightfall under freezing stars they arrived.
In the morning they were both found dead.
  of cold. Of hunger. Of the toxins of a whole history.
But her feet were held against his breastbone.
The last heat of his flesh was his last gift to her.
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