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Bridge of Sighs

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So many dogs and loves, so many friends
Have swept beneath this bridge to swell the weir,
My tongue stands ever primed to make amends
For any fault in reckoning those here.
For what is ‘here’ or ‘there’, and where oh where
Are all the golden summers we possessed,
The bear-hug grip, the kiss, the arching stare,
The leaping bark—the purr of cats caressed?
All gone. All gone. By incremental stealth,
By fire, by plague, by sword, by their own hand,
In terrified distress, in blooming health,
Black waters rose and swept them from the land.
  Their names recede, their faces grow more dim:
  What stream is this that none may learn to swim?