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For Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas


Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse
Stripped from the walls;
And Alice alone.
Gertrude, as it were, midwife
To the 20th century,
Gone.
These two women must have been one--
In what proportions
In what ways
And how and when
Are mysteries, I think;
No matter how much is explained or remembered.
Imperfectly there was love,
But God lives longer than the world
And its judgments
And every human explosion exhausts itself.
Eventually the dust does settle.
Yet never an end to God.

O may they be united
In God's mercy
Entertained and entertaining
Endless circles,
Gertrude, Alice, an infinity of friends.

blc


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