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Baucis and Philemon


Life lies to hand in hoe, spade, pruning-knife,

Plain wooden furniture and wattle walls,

In those unspoken words ‘my husband’, ‘wife’,

In one another’s flesh which still recalls


Beneath the map of age their savoured youth.

It is an ambience in which they move

Having no need to grasp or grub for truth;

It is the still persistence of their love.


That one should die before the other’s death

And drain the world of meaning is their fear:

Their hope, to draw together their last breath

And leave the sunlight on a common bier.


Life is the meaning and the bread they share;

Because they need no Gods, the Gods are there.


Dick Davis



From The Covenant, Anvil Press, © 1984.
Reprinted by permission of the author.

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