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Title: Poems of Life
Author: Hamill, Katharine Forrest
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Poems of Life" ***

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                             POEMS OF LIFE

                                OF LIFE

                       KATHARINE FORREST HAMILL

                        PETER REILLY, PUBLISHER
                       133 N. THIRTEENTH STREET

                    COPYRIGHT 1915, BY PETER REILLY
                         PUBLISHED JULY, 1915

                           FIRST IMPRESSION


                        GRACE BARTLETT STRYKER

    Words fail me when I strive to say
    What you’ve meant to me--for so long a day
    Steadfast and true, whate’er might be.
    O priv’lege rarest to the end
    As in the past, to call you--_friend_.

          AUTHOR’S NOTE

The poems contained within the following pages are _children of the
brain_ which at intervals obtruded their company, and which, such as
they are, at the solicitation of my friends, I have ventured to set

K. F. H.


Dedication                             IX

Author’s Note                          XI


Today                                   5

Jewels                                  6

Something Gone                          7

A-Maying                                8

Tribute                                 9

Good-Bye                               10

The Wondrous Song                      14

Miladi                                 17

The Something-my-life-has-missed       18

Contentment                            20

Gone                                   21

To My Muse                             22

Conception                             24

Awakening                              25

The House Built on Sands               26

To a Butterfly                         28

A Fragment                             29

Query                                  30

I Close Mine Eyes                      32

Understanding                          33

We Met in May                          34

I Turn Me Down a Lighted Way           36

Counsel                                37

Decision                               39

You Never Guessed the Secret           40

The Light                              42

Education                              43

Re-Adjustment                          44


When Grandmama Was Little              53

Harold’s Lament                        55

Mrs. Spider                            57

The Naughty Little Girl                58

On the Stair                           60

The Land O’Dreams                      61

The Middle of the Night                63

When Our Fathers Were Little Boys      65

Slumber Land                           67

The New Brother                        68

          POEMS OF LIFE


    The Yesterdays we might have called our own
      But which, in our blindness, we let slip by,
    Alas! they know not to return again,
      Deep-buried doth each, within its grave, lie.

    But O belov’ed, now that we have made
      The golden secret ours--to hold alway
    We will not sorrow o’er departed hours--
      Just live in God’s great glorious--To-day!


    Oh, not the gracious deeds your kindness knew, dear,
      When shone my sun and skies were ever fair;
    But the more precious sympathies you tendered
      In sorrow’s hour. _Those_ my jewels rare
    Which dearer, than off’ring wealth knows to proffer,
      I’ll keep beside me whate’er may attend,
    Nor render up so long as Life’s day lasteth,--
      Aye, and take with me, when shall plead its end.


    You come to me--you take my hand,
      You try to make me see
    Things should become as they once were,
      ’Twixt you and me.

    I listen to each word, you say,
      I mark well ev’ry tone,
    Only to find--you plead in vain,--
      There’s something gone.

    Something gone--that cannot come back again,
      Tho’ most entreatingly you pray.
    Yet, not mine the fault,--but yours alone,
      It went away.


    We will go a-Maying dear,
      Just you and I together,
    Oh, the glory of God’s blossoming
      Sunshiny weather!
    Ev’ry ill we will forget,
      Nor remember a regret,
    For ’twill never do to fret
      Whilst we are a-straying.
    Only laughter ringing clear,
      Waking echo far and near;
    You and I so happy dear;
      A-Maying! A-Maying!


    To prove myself--aye, that’s my aim,
      To prove myself for those
    Who took me by the hand and held,
      Nor cared if others chose
    To notice or pass coldly by.
      Thro’ stormiest of weather
    Stood ever at my side, and said
      We’ll face the world together!



    Good-bye, yes, I’ve decided
      It’s best--it should not go _on_,
    The quite delightful companionship
      You and I, for some time, have known.

    No, do not try to dissuade me,
      I’ve thought it most carefully o’er,
    To arrive at but one conviction--
      We must see each other no more.


    And you think to sever our friendship
      By a mere putting away,
    Letting the same, as it were, slip from us
      Nor permitting me to say,

    A word in defence of its going
      As if I’d no _right_ to share
    In the matter of decision
      I ask you,--Is it fair?


    Man-like you refuse to _reason_
      To see it’s the only way,
    That the step really should have been taken
      Even _before_ to-day.

    With you ’tis quite diff’rent,--the matter,--
      You’ve priv’lege entire of your life;
    But my freedom bows to restriction,--
      I am another man’s wife.


    Yes, another man’s wife, but the honor
      The Fates have conferred, it would seem
    He doesn’t the quite appreciate,--
      At least, ’tis the knowledge I gleam.

    From observing his attitude towards you,
      Which I’m sure,--and you can but agree,
    Is not in the least in keeping with what
      A husband’s towards a wife _should_ be.


    And his failing you think permits me
      Favor to accept at _your_ hands,
    That the vow I took at the altar
      Ceases to impose its demands.

    In sickness or health I promised,
      “For better or worse”,--till the day,
    He who gave should in his judgment
      See fit to take away.


    And you’ll let it bind you, that promise,
      To a man who does not care;
    Whose int’rest is the thoroughly selfish,
      In whose secrets--you do not share,

    Listen, dear, the priv’lege of Mortals,--
      To get what we can out of life.
    Free yourself from the bond that is irksome
      And find happiness, as my wife.


    Nay, not so, the rule of living
      Holds faithful but to the one test;
    Nor counts it--another’s transgression,
      We must give of _ourselves_--our best.

    Of no use to appeal the exception,
      The truth remains fix’ed alway,
    So, good-bye, it _must_ be,--and, God bless you,--
      _There is nothing more to say_.


    I longed to sing a wondrous song,
      So wondrous, ’twould compel
    The admiration unreserved
      Of one and all as well.

    My pen I took in hand and strove
      The magic words to write,
    Alas! I could not of my Muse
      Inspiration invite.

    She would not humor, tho’ I begged
      Persistently and long
    For the right metre--the right thought,
      To best set down my song.

    ’Twas stately phrase I coveted,
      The Laurel I would court--
    That of the world’s acknowledgment
      Of unsurpass´ed thought.

    At length disheartened, my appeal
      Knew, but to be denied,
    I rose and to the window moved,
      And marked the scene outside.

    All quiet stretched the land before,
      Enwrapt in the soft haze
    Which with such rare enchantment clothes
      Autumn’s initial days.

    Idly my glance the expanse swept
      Till it came to where lay
    Outside the gate, the winding road
      Leading to far-away.

    Then with the moment light was mine--
      Yet not complex its thought,
    The inspiration which appealed
      Was diff’rent, from that sought.

    The winding road--the simple theme--
      They who followed after--
    The toll it wrested of sad tears,
      For short dole of laughter.

    The tranquil ways bidden farewell,
      To seek of its unrest,
    The truth alas! too oft brought home,
      The paths forsook, were best.

    Could I but so compose a lay,
      That one who heard might pause,
    Nor continue to sacrifice
      In an unrighteous cause.

    And keep his soul tho’ it should be
      By cruelest conflict wrung,
    I need not further supplicate--
      My wondrous song were sung.


    Miladi is so wonderful in furbelows and laces;
    Miladi is so wonderful of such beguiling graces;
    My poor faint heart goes pit-a-pat when she her Slave addresses
    I wonder if how _much_ I love, Miladi guesses!

    Miladi is so wonderful, her dimples and her curls;
    Miladi is so wonderful, my mind bewildered whirls;
    Oh would some pow’r benign might make it plain for me to see
    How much it is, in very truth, Miladi thinks of _me_.


    It whispers in the murmur
      Of the breezes passing by,
    Pulsates in the azure
      Of ev’ry flawless sky.
    And oh! when twilight gathers
      And its curtain gently falls,
      Calls and calls.

    Part of the Throng have found it,
      The light within their eyes
    Pleads of too great a radiance
      The truth to disguise.
    Their world is all they wish for,
      Nor know they to implore
    From off Destiny’s altar
      Happiness more.

    It whispers in the murmur
      Of the breezes passing by,
    Pulsates in the azure
      Of ev’ry flawless sky.
    Some day I, too, shall know it
      In all its ecstacy,
      Will come to me.


    To have you with me day by day
      Watch you flitting to and fro,
    In and out this room and that,
      Up and down the stairs and lo!
    With each turn mark you at
      Some task benign--love bids you know.

    To have you with me day by day,
      A tender, trusting, gracious self
    Let the world treasure as it may,
      To me, far dearer than its wealth
    Your comradeship. Nor pleads the hour
      In all God’s calendar so true,
    With blessing richer for its dow’r
      Than the rare one which gave me,--_you_.


    I turn to find you,
      But do not see--
    Who at my side I knew

    Again, I hearken!
      But do not hear,
    Your voice answer mine
      In tones so clear.

    Gone!--nevermore on earth
      To see, to know,
    And I still live on
      God!--is it so?

          TO MY MUSE

    Let others bow before Wealth’s shrine,
      And tribute render up
    For the pleasures manifold it brings
      To overflow Life’s cup.
    But at your altar, Muse, I kneel
      And reverential pray,
    When darkness would have claimed my soul--
      You held its blight at bay.

    My sky of Life was overcast--
      Nor showed one patch of blue--
    Love had betrayed, and deep,--ah, deep!
      My heart drank of its rue.
    Where lo! a hand my shoulder pressed,
      E’en as I would give up;--
    I turned,--your eyes looked into mine--
      There passed the cup.

    A music wonderful entranced
      Which led to heights afar;
    Ever it beckoned on, and on,
      My guiding star.
    The chains that hitherto had held,--
      How worthless proved their pow’r!
    Instead of wishing Life to pass
      I thanked God for each hour.

    _Let others bow before Wealth’s shrine,
      And tribute render up
    For the pleasures manifold it brings
      To overflow Life’s cup.
    But at your altar, Muse, I kneel
      And reverential pray,
    When darkness would have claimed my soul,--
      You held its blight at bay._


    To the many you give of your lighter vein
      Laughter and gay repartee.
    But the deeper side,--that which thinks things out,
      You give to me.

    With the many you play Life’s make-believe game;
      ’Tis a bantering light they see
    When they look in your eyes, their earnest gaze
      You save for me.

    The many accept you for what you would seem;
      From such blundering am I free:
    I know you for your own true self,--the self
      You are to me.


    Oh, truth was mine before. I knew
      The sun was gold; the skies of day were blue;
    But the wonder of things, dear--_this_ never grew
      Until into my life, God’s grace sent _you_.


    We will go, he said, far, far away,
      And a world make of our own.
    A kingdom, such as never before
      On land or sea, has been known.

    She smiled into his eyes,--and oh! the look
      Of perfect trust she gave
    As he gathered her close, vowing the while
      Allegiance unto the grave.

    Well, they went away and made their world
      As others had done before,
    For the time being love blinding them
      To the confine of its shore.

    They were all-in-all to each other, alone,
      And it mattered not a whit,
    That, in the scheme of things outside the pale,
      They were not permitted to fit.

    Defiance they flung in the face of dissent!
      Life,--was it not their right
    To live it as they wanted to?
      And they would, all warning despite.

    Why burden the pages by writing down
      Their history in detail?
    Was ever yet such a compact made
      That was known _not_ to fail.

    ’Twas a question of time,--“_The house built on sands_”
      From its moorings slipped away;
    They who court Fate’s disfavor--or soon--or late,
      “Pass under the rod” of her sway.

          TO A BUTTERFLY

    Butterfly, Butterfly,
      Roaming thro’ the air--
    Flying here, flying there,
    Bending o’er the roses’ petals,
      Drinking of their dew,
    Then away--with quick dart--
      Cleaving towards the blue!

    Butterfly, Butterfly,
      Roaming thro’ the air--
    If I, like you, had privilege,
      To wander ev’rywhere.
    I’d spread my wings and soar up! up!
      Straight to Heav’n’s door--
    And when I got there Butterfly,
      I’d roam no more!

          A FRAGMENT

    Flowers exquisite frequent thrive,
      Hidden in the shade
    Of some o’er-arching foliage
      In a secluded glade.

    They need the shadow, not the sun,
      To best perfect their bloom.
    E’en so, life’s rarest thought expands
      Oft, in its darkened room.


    You love me, you say, and want me
      To become your own.
    I believe you are in earnest now,
      But,--as the years go on--

    What do you think will happen!
      Shall we travel side by side,
    Lovers, and faithful companions,
      Whatever may betide?

    So many have taken the venture,
      But to find it turn out for the bad,
    Who, at the beginning, just as much faith
      In a different outcome had.

    That I’m fearful our fate might be like theirs,--
      Have we proof, think you, it will not?
    A guarantee,--we shall never grow tired
      And want to unfasten the knot?

    Tho’ my love is yours, ’twere far better,
      Our paths separately should trend;
    Than start together, and _then_ diverge,
      Nor accomplish the journey’s end.


    I close mine eyes, and see you dear
      As in the dear, dead days;
    The tender grace, and strength of poise,
      Marking you from the rest apart.
    And oh! it seems as if I must
      Enfold you to my heart.

    I close mine eyes, and see you dear
      As in the dear, dead days;
    The hair’s soft fall over the brow,
      Within your eyes love’s ardent light,
    It cannot be! it cannot be!
      My day has turned to night.

    I close mine eyes, and see you dear
      As in the dear, dead days;
    Before love’s bitter aftermath
      Whose penalty ’tis mine to know.
    Oh! come to me from out its void!
      _I need you so! I need you so._


    You have not spoken the word, dear,
      But I know! I know!
    It came to me of a-sudden
      How you loved me so!
    A glance which escaped unguarded,
      The truth made plain.
    I’ve hugged its memory to me
      Over, and over again!

    You have not spoken the word, dear,
      But I know! I know!
    It came to me of a-sudden
      How you loved me so!
    A breath, with a catch in the taking,--
      And my world, you see,
    Became changed,--for I love you, dear!
      As you love me!

          WE MET IN MAY

    We met in May, I know you have forgotten,
    Have long since put all thought of me away;
    Yet in my heart the mem’ry ever lingers,--
                We met in May.

    Fragrant the air with redolence of blossom!
    Matchless the sky of perfect, cloudless blue!
    And oh! the music that the world was ringing--
                When I met you.

    Another has your fancy from me captured;
    Her lot,--Fate’s tenderer impulse to know.
    Whilst I, adown the years waiting the facing,
                Alone, must go.

    No thought is mine save that bequeaths a blessing;--
    God grant your life be a long, happy day.
    You have forgotten, but I must remember,--
                We met in May.


    I turn me down a lighted way
      Where laughter rings and song floats out;
    And, as I gain the happy throng,
      All eagerly they flock about.

    I smile on this side, and on that,
      Join the gay flow of repartee:
    Yet, deep, deep down, within my heart
      Echoes the endless moan for thee.

    I hark to him who compliments,
      Within my eyes a sparkling light.
    I play the game,--nor does he guess
      Its fire has burned to ashes white.

    They count me merriest of all.
      Not one who notes the deep-down sigh,
    Who lists--Life’s tragic undertone,--
    _We’ve said good-bye--we’ve said good-bye_.


    Have you balked at the test you’ve been put to,
      Are you weary of straining a point?
    Is the fight too hard, the way too long?
    Is there too much of sighing, too little of song?
    Does ev’ry thing seem to be going wrong?
      The scheme entire, as it were, out of joint?

    Then lend me an ear whilst I counsel awhile,
      You must take a _fresh_ grip, my friend,
    The game is yours if you’ll make it your own,
    Defeat is a word that need never be known.
    He who _sticks_ in his mount, _cannot_ be thrown,
      Let his steed strive its best to that end.

    The sun goes down with the gloom of each night,
      But it rises again with each morn,
    And there’s so much of brightness to be gathered in,
    Such wonderful happiness ours to win,
    Throw despair to the winds, and anew begin,
      Standing forth--the Mortal re-born!


    At times, I think, were we to talk it over
      The something wanting in your life and mine,
    We might arrive at clearer understanding
      The cause of our unhappiness define.

    Yet, ever with the impulse strong upon me
      Such course to follow out as for the best,
    Comes swift the contradictory impression,--
      ’Twould useless be to put it to the test.

    That sympathy which pleads when souls are mated
      Is the so woefully lacking,--’tis clear,
    It could not prove aught else than effort wasted,--
      You are so far,--to try and draw you near.


    You never guessed the secret,
      Nor have unto to-day.
    The truth of it never reached you,
      I hid it so well away.
    The truth of how I loved you,
      Yet spake not, for your sake;
    Nor is it easy to put aside
      What One so longs to take.

    The voice of you, in my musings,
      The glance of you, in my dreams;
    The feeling, you ever were near me,
      Even now, how compelling it seems!
    As if but to turn--were to see you;
      To know the clasp of your hand;
    Yet, I guarded the knowledge carefully,
      And you did not understand.

    Still the thought of you hurt, and I hungered--
      Hungered, day and night,
    It will count when the story is ended,
      I was able to see aright.
    You never guessed the secret,
      Nor have unto to-day.
    The truth of it never reached you,
      I hid it so well away.

          THE LIGHT

    The light! the light!
      For all is dark,
    The light I pray,
      My feet stumble,
    I cannot find the way.

    The light! the light!
      For all is dark,
    Soon the night
      Complete, will overtake
    The light! the light! Oh! God--the light!


    You say you are shocked, my lady,--and so you ought to be.
      A comedy, quite upon my soul,
    To make me love you,--then fence about
      When I demand only righteous toll.

    An innocent flirtation, you intended no harm,--
      Well, a lesson the trifler learns,
    To keep a safe distance away from fire,--
      For the truth, not the lie, it burns.


    You beg of me to forgive you
      The Other in your life.
    She, who has for some time, I’ve discovered,
      Been defrauding the wife.

    You avow you never loved her
      That ’twas she led you along--
    And why hold one responsible
      Who’s not guilty of a wrong?

    Won’t I forgive, as you urge me,
      Forgive and try to forget?
    Let the rest of your life be a token,
      Of how sincere your regret.

    I must have time for my answer,
      Some things take the breath--
    It seems to die, we need not
      Always wait for death.

    I loved you so absolutely,
      Thought you so completely my own;
    I never questioned but that we meant
      All in all to each other--alone.

    And you the while were betraying
      The faith I held so dear,
    Selling the same to another--
      No, do not come near.

    When its foundation becomes weakened,
      A structure is undermined,
    Nor can it at all times, be strengthened anew,
      They who venture the effort, find.

    I will do my best to replace it--
      The foundation my trust hath known;
    Should I fail--tho’ sincere my intention--tion--
      You must go on your way--alone.


Acknowledgment is made to Messrs. George W. Jacobs & Company for their
courtesy in granting permission to reprint in this volume verses from
“Rhymes for Wee Sweethearts.”


    When grandmama was little--
      It was years and years ago,
    In what folks call, at this time,
      The old-fashioned days, you know--
    Why, she had such a perfect time,
      The best you ever saw:
    We wish that we’d been little
      Same time as grandmama.

    She tells us all about it,
      And then, if we are good,
    And just sit still and listen,
      The way all children should,
    And never interrupt a bit,
      Or question ’bout the rest
    Till she’s all through, she shows us
      The things up in her chest.

    I can’t begin to tell you
      The half of what is there:
    The rag-dolls soiled and faded
      That haven’t any hair,
    And toys, and--oh, yes!--lady-dolls,
      And, folded with the rest,
    A little rose-bud muslin frock,
      Her one-time very best.

    And there’s her picture taken
      In this self-same gown,
    With ruffles reaching to the waist
      And panties showing down;
    Hair parted in the middle;
      Over each ear a curl:
    Oh! but our grandmama was pretty!
      When a little girl!


    Blamed if I see any fun
      In being a boy,
    With ev’rybody trying
      Their hardest to annoy!
    It’s “Harold” here, and “Harold” there
      Until they have me sick
    Of “Run along!”--“Don’t be slow!”--
      Or “Hurry up; be quick!”

    First some one sends me down-stairs,
      I run with might and main;
    Before I’m half-way there it’s turn
      And run right up again!
    And sure as I go out to play,
      Or have a little fun,
    I’m called straight in: there’s something else
      A-waiting to be done!

    I just believe I’ll run away;
      Pack all my things and go!
    Can’t see the use of staying ’round
      And being treated so!
    For I just bet when they were small,
      Not _one_ of them would do
    Half of the errands and the things
      That I’m expected to!

          MRS. SPIDER

    Brother Dick and I one day
    Watched Mrs. Spider spin away:
    My, how she spun, and spun, and spun,
    Until she had her web all done!
    Then, brother Dick, he said to me:
    “Now, where can Mr. Spider be?”
    We watched, but didn’t see him come,
    So I guess he couldn’t have lived at home.


    When I’m so awf’ly naughty,
    The very littlest tiny thing
    But kick and scream when any one
      Attempts to come my way,
    And press my fingers to my ears
      To miss what they may say,
    Why, then my mother says that I’m
      As bad as bad can be;
    She says she thinks it’s some one else
    She says she’s sure the little girl
    Would never do the horrid things
    And though she doesn’t try to whip,
      She looks so very sad
    That somehow I just get ashamed
      And can’t keep being bad:
    I chase the naughty girl away
      As far as far can be;
    Then I run and kiss my mother, so

          ON THE STAIR

    A wee form nestles on the stair,
      Two eyes betraying
    The Sand-man has o’ertaken there
      Wee steps delaying.
    Too tired to mount the flight to bed,
    Dear little tumbled golden head,
    Just resting there a while instead,
      Through dreamland straying.

          THE LAND O’ DREAMS

    All aboard for the Land o’ Dreams!
      (One for the money and two for the show!)
    All aboard for the Land o’ Dreams!
      (Three to make ready and four to go!)
            The passenger’s late,
            But the cars all wait--
    Just hark to the brakeman’s cries:
      “All aboard for the Land o’ Dreams!”--
    And the tickets are drowsy eyes.


    All aboard for the Land o’ Dreams!
      (One for the money and two for the show!)
    All aboard for the Land o’ Dreams!
      (Three to make ready and four to go!)
            The whistles sound,
            And the wheels go ’round,
    And the bright green fields slip past;
      The passenger’s here and the track is clear
    To the Land o’ Dreams at last!


    Sometimes at night I get awake
      And all’s so dark and still--
    Why I’m ’bout scared even to take
      A deep-down breath, until
    I peer ’round first and try to see
      If ev’rything’s all right!
    For the terriblest things can be,--
      The Middle of the Night.

    I want so much to cry right out--
      But I am awful ’fraid!
    ’Cause, if those black things _were_ about,
      They’d hear the noise I made.
    And mother sleeps so very sound,
      She mightn’t hear, you see,
    And then they’d make a great big bound
      And run away with me.

    So I lie just still as I can--
      My heart a-thumping so!
    Wishing I were a great big man,
      So I’d not scare, you know.
    When oh!--the covers pull away
      And just as I begin
    To scream--why, I hear mother say
      It’s her tucking them in!


    When our fathers were little boys,
      Before they grew to men,
    I wonder did they make a noise
      Or have a good time then?
    I wonder did they ever fight
      And punch each other’s nose?
    Or if they always did just right
      And never spoiled their clothes.

    I wonder did their mothers scold
      Sometimes and make them cry?
    I wonder if they ever told
      A teeny-weeny lie?
    I wonder if they ever had
      Such dirty hands and face?
    I wonder were they ever mad
      And banged things ’round the place?

    I wonder did they ever run
      To fires hard as they could?
    Or if they called it better fun
      To sit still and be good?
    I wonder _were_ they ever small
      And kept back in the shade?
    Or didn’t they have to grow at all,
      But just come ready made?

          SLUMBER LAND

    To all: “Good-night!”
      Two eyes shut tight
    And baby’s bound for Slumber,
      The land where all tired children go,
      The land where white dream-flowers grow
        Beyond my art to number:
            And blinks
        And nods all past--
    Mother’s arms are sure and fast,
    Off to Slumber Land at last,
    The moonlit Land of Slumber!


    We’ve got a new kid in our house;
      And it ’bout gives me a fit,
    The fuss that ev’rybody is
      A-making over it.
    All ’long I’ve been the pet, you see,
      ’Twas _me_ they tried to please
    But now, this other fellow has
      Them all upon their knees!

    He’s just about the ugliest!
      And really doesn’t seem
    Able to do another thing
      But double up and scream.
    He’s got no teeth, he’s got no hair,--
      Worst curiosity!
    I’d like some one to tell me _why_
      He counts for more than me!

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Poems of Life" ***

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