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This is the day the flies fall awake mid-sentence

and lie stunned on the windowsill shaking with speeches

only it isn’t speech it is trembling sections of puzzlement which

break off suddenly as if the questioner had been shot

this is one of those wordy days

when they drop from their winter quarters in the curtains and sizzle as they fall

feeling like old cigarette butts called back to life

blown from the surface of some charred world

and somehow their wings which are little more than flakes of dead skin

have carried them to this blackened disembodied question

what dirt shall we visit today?

what dirt shall we re-visit?

they lift their faces to the past and walk about a bit

trying out their broken thought-machines

coming back with their used-up words

there is such a horrible trapped buzzing wherever we fly

it’s going to be impossible to think clearly now until next winter

what should we

what dirt should we


Alice Oswald

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