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The Walls Do Not Fall [9]

Hilda Doolittle

Thoth, Hermes, the stylus,

the palette, the pen, the quill endure,

though our books are a floor

of smouldering ash under our feet;

though the burning of the books remains

the most perverse gesture

and the meanest

of man's mean nature,

yet give us, they still cry,

give us books,

folio, manuscript, old parchment

will do for cartridge cases;

irony is bitter truth

wrapped up in a little joke,

and Hatshepsut's name is still circled

with what they call the cartouche.