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Poetry and Medicine
December 15, 1999

Incident at Malvern

Author Affiliations

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;282(23):2196C. doi:10.1001/jama.282.23.2196

The bottom fell out and the finches flew
Far from the bounds you had held them to.
Now you are gone, but the birds still fare
For their lives within these hills somewhere.
Winter will come. I dread the day
Sometime just before Christ was born
When the doors are still decked with the Thanksgiving corn,
And the devil comes up from behind me to say,
"Listen, Christian! Up there—do you hear it,
A sound in that rigor of twigs of the elms
Which the wide winter sky nearly overwhelms?
That wild game you see, which the days disinherit,
There where the sunlight is losing its hold,
Are the twins of her divided spirit
Singing painfully in the cold."

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