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Bill Herbert

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  The Wall

True Wall, magnetic Wall,
Wall that never mentions North
but hints obliquely like an only line:
here begins beyond.

Here all thought of borders was born
to the west of empire,
swaddled in vallum and cribbed with stone,
where before they let their sense of limits seep
through the babble of beyond:
'horribilesque ultimosque Britannos'

Here men began to hold the shrinking world
that had held them
upon her unbound breasts.