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By Geoffrey Hill

born 19.6.32—deported 24.9.42

Undesirable you may have been, untouchable
you were not. Not forgotten
or passed over at the proper time.

As estimated, you died. Things marched,
sufficient, to that end.
Just so much Zyklon and leather, patented
terror, so many routine cries.

(I have made
an elegy for myself it
is true)

September fattens on vines. Roses
flake from the wall. The smoke
of harmless fires drifts to my eyes.

This is plenty. This is more than enough.

Geoffrey Hill, “September Song” from New and Collected Poems, 1952-1992. Copyright © 1994 by Geoffrey Hill. Used with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Source: New and Collected Poems 1952-1992 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994)

  • Living
  • Nature
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Geoffrey Hill
Born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England, Hill was eight years old when he witnessed the Nazis destroying Coventry. A deep engagement with European history, and especially with entwining that history with autobiography, is a hallmark of his work. Hill’s poetry engages both the civil and spiritual life in a manner that has been described variously as scholarly, highly allusive, political, inventive, and Yeatsian. Hill was a university professor from the age of 22 to the age of 74, teaching at several universities in England and at Boston University in the U.S., where he cofounded the Editorial Institute. See More By This Poet

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