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I felt so sure they’d always be near,

for how could they, of all people, disappear?

I took them for granted like water, like air;

the sun, the moon – just there.

He worked, golfed, liked his tipple;

she shopped, cooked, set meals on the table.

Each autumn they raked the leaves and burnt them:

the smoke rings wrung my eyes.

And once she took me in her Morris Minor

to see Patrick Moore fall through space

and open a fete.  ‘Look!’ she gasped, ‘the TV astronomer.’

I gaped at an alien.  Galaxies glinted in his monocle.

Light years passed.  The car stalled.  The fire

burnt out.  The golf clubs rusted.

How thin the air on earth now, how near

dead stars where my signals find no answer.

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