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for Bel Mooney

Imagine a shallow glass box

About nine inches by seven,

She writes, a bundle of papers

Inside, tied with brown ribbon,

Photos of our battlefield trip

Interleaved with war poems

She has copied out in longhand.

A shrapnel ball (in cellophane

For protection) nestles there

And rusty shrapnel casing

And the chestnuts and acorns

We examine in one photo.

In another, under a cross,

What can we be looking at?

Embroidered postcards evoke

Men who fought and loved and died,

She says. I who wrote the poems

Imagine a shallow glass box.

Glass Box

Michael Longley

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