January 30, 2012

Daylight and Moonlight

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--Description: 19th C, Longfellow H.W., Celestial, Nature, Night, Seasons--
In broad daylight, and at noon,
Yesterday I saw the moon
Sailing high, but faint and white,
As a schoolboy's paper kite.

In broad daylight, yesterday,
I read a poet's mystic lay;
And it seemed to me at most
As a phantom, or a ghost.

But at length the feverish day
Like a passion died away,
And the night, serene and still,
Fell on village, vale, and hill.

Then the moon, in all her pride,
Like a spirit glorified,
Filled and overflowed the night
With revelations of her light.

And the Poet's song again
Passed like music through my brain;
Night interpreted to me
All its grace and mystery.


Henry W. Longfellow

--Did You Know: (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) Longfellow was an American educator and poet whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and "Evangeline". He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and was one of the five Fireside Poets. Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, then part of Massachusetts, and studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a professor there and, later, at Harvard College. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, living the remainder of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a former headquarters of George Washington. His first wife, Mary Potter, died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife, Frances Appleton, died in 1861 after sustaining burns from her dress catching fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on his translation. He died in 1882. Longfellow predominantly wrote lyric poems which are known for their musicality and which often presented stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and also had success overseas. He has been criticized, however, for imitating European styles and writing specifically for the masses. Read more at: Henry W. Longfellow

--Word of the Day: juggernaut \JUHG-er-nawt\, noun:
1. Any large, overpowering, destructive force.
2. Something, such as a belief or institution, that elicits blind and destructive devotion.
3. An idol of Krishna, at Puri in Orissa, India, annually drawn on an enormous cart under whose wheels devotees are said to have thrown themselves to be crushed.
Example:
It is a pity that every time this economic juggernaut encounters successful international competition in manufacturing, it resorts to bullying against its own consumers' welfare and that of the working poor worldwide.
-Zhang Xiang, "Going toe to toe with the bully", Xinhua

--Quote of the Day: Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline

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January 26, 2012

[Month of] February

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--Description: 20th C, Belloc H., Nature, Seasons--


The winter moon has such a quiet car
That all the winter nights are dumb with rest.
She drives the gradual dark with drooping crest,
And dreams go wandering from her drowsy star.
Because the nights are silent, do not wake:
But there shall tremble through the general earth,
And over you, a quickening and a birth.
The sun is near the hill-tops for your sake.

The latest born of all the days shall creep
To kiss the tender eyelids of the year;
And you shall wake, grown young with perfect sleep,
And smile at the new world, and make it dear
With living murmurs more than dreams are deep.
Silence is dead, my Dawn; the morning's here.


Hilaire Belloc

--Did You Know: (27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953) Belloc was an Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He is most notable for his Roman Catholic faith, which had an impact on most of his writing. Belloc was born in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France (next to Versailles and near Paris) to a French father and English mother, and grew up in England. Much of his boyhood was spent in Slindon, West Sussex, for which he often felt homesick in later life. His mother Elizabeth Rayner Parkes (1829–1925) was also a writer, and a great-granddaughter of the English chemist Joseph Priestley. In 1867 she married attorney Louis Belloc, son of the French painter Jean-Hilaire Belloc. In 1872, five years after they wed, Louis died, but not before being wiped out financially in a stock market crash. The young widow then brought her son Hilaire, along with his sister, Marie, back to England where he remained, except for his voluntary enlistment as a young man in the French artillery. Read more at: Hilaire Beloc

--Poetry Terminology: Haibun -
Japanese form, pioneered by the poet Basho, and comprising a section of prose followed by haiku. They are frequently travelogues - as in Basho's The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel (1688). In the best examples, the prose and haiku should work together to create an organic whole.

--Word of the Day: deucedly \DOO-sid-lee\, adverb:
Devilishly; damnably.
Example:
When I went in I had seen that there was a deucedly pretty girl sitting in that particular seat, so I had taken the next one.
-- P. G. Wodehouse, Man With Two Left Feet and Other Stories

--Quote of the Day:
Regret is an appalling waste of energy,
you can't build on it - it's only good for wallowing in.
- Katherine Mansfield

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January 22, 2012

Sea Fever

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--Description: 20th C, Masefield J., Nature, Life--

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.


John Masefield

--Did You Know: (1 June 1878 – 12 May 1967) John Masefield was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967. He is remembered as the author of the classic children's novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights, and many memorable poems, including "The Everlasting Mercy" and "Sea-Fever". Masefield was born in Ledbury in Herefordshire, to Caroline and George Masefield, a solicitor. His mother died giving birth to his sister when Masefield was only six, and he went to live with his aunt. His father died soon after following a mental breakdown. After an unhappy education at the King's School in Warwick (now known as Warwick School), where he was a boarder between 1888 and 1891, he left to board the HMS Conway, both to train for a life at sea, and to break his addiction to reading, of which his aunt thought little. He spent several years aboard this ship and found that he could spend much of his time reading and writing. It was aboard the Conway that Masefield’s love for story-telling grew. While on the ship, he listened to the stories told about sea lore. He continued to read, and felt that he was to become a writer and story teller himself. Read more at: John Masefield

--Word of the Day: alate \EY-leyt\, adjective:
1. Having wings; winged.
2. Having membranous expansions like wings.
noun:
1. The winged form of an insect when both winged and wingless forms occur in the species.
Example:
Vainly a few diehard physicists pointed out that wings are of no propulsive help in airless void, that alate flight is possible only where there are wind currents to lift and carry.
-- Robert Silverberg, Earth is the Strangest Planet

--Quote of the Day: Life is ten percent what happens to you
and ninety percent how you respond to it.
- Lou Holtz

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January 19, 2012

Good-by

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--Description: 19th C, Emerson Ralph W., Death, Disillusion, Life--

Good-by, proud world, I'm going home,
Thou'rt not my friend, and I'm not thine;
Long through thy weary crowds I roam;
A river-ark on the ocean brine,
Long I've been tossed like the driven foam,
But now, proud world, I'm going home.

Good-by to Flattery's fawning face,
To Grandeur, with his wise grimace,
To upstart Wealth's averted eye,
To supple Office low and high,
To crowded halls, to court, and street,
To frozen hearts, and hasting feet,
To those who go, and those who come,
Good-by, proud world, I'm going home.

I'm going to my own hearth-stone
Bosomed in yon green hills, alone,
A secret nook in a pleasant land,
Whose groves the frolic fairies planned;
Where arches green the livelong day
Echo the blackbird's roundelay,
And vulgar feet have never trod
A spot that is sacred to thought and God.

Oh, when I am safe in my sylvan home,
I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome;
And when I am stretched beneath the pines
Where the evening star so holy shines,
I laugh at the lore and the pride of man,
At the sophist schools, and the learned clan;
For what are they all in their high conceit,
When man in the bush with God may meet.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


--Did You Know: (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) Emerson was an American essayist, philosopher, and poet, best remembered for leading the Transcendentalist movement of the mid 19th century. His teachings directly influenced the growing New Thought movement of the mid 1800s. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society. Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature. As a result of this ground breaking work he gave a speech entitled The American Scholar in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. considered to be America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence". Considered one of the great orators of the time, Emerson's enthusiasm and respect for his audience enraptured crowds. His support for abolitionism late in life created controversy, and at times he was subject to abuse from crowds while speaking on the topic. When asked to sum up his work, he said his central doctrine was "the infinitude of the private man." Read more at: Ralph Waldo Emerson

--Word of the Day: bathos \BEY-thos\, noun:
1. Triteness or triviality in style.
2. A ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax.
3. Insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness.
Example:
After one character undergoes a particularly lightning-speed change in temperament, the director lays on a ludicrously coincidental plot twist with sentimental bathos that nearly swamps everything that has gone before.
-Ann Hornaday, "Movie review: In 'Mother and Child,' Bening and Epps give strong performances", Washington Post, May 2010

--Quote of the Day: "Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love ... and to put its trust in life."
-Joseph Conrad

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January 15, 2012

In Reference to Her Children

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--Description: 17th C, Bradstreet A., Children, Love, Parenting--


I had eight birds hatched in one nest,
Four cocks there were, and hens the rest.
I nursed them up with pain and care,
Nor cost, nor labour did I spare,
Till at the last they felt their wing,
Mounted the trees, and learned to sing;
Chief of the brood then took his flight
To regions far and left me quite.
My mournful chirps I after send,
Till he return, or I do end:
Leave not thy nest, thy dam and sire,
Fly back and sing amidst this choir.
My second bird did take her flight,
And with her mate flew out of sight;
Southward they both their course did bend,
And seasons twain they there did spend,
Till after blown by southern gales,
They norward steered with filled sails.
A prettier bird was no where seen,
Along the beach among the treen.
I have a third of colour white,
On whom I placed no small delight;
Coupled with mate loving and true,
Hath also bid her dam adieu;
And where Aurora first appears,
She now hath perched to spend her years.
One to the academy flew
To chat among that learned crew;
Ambition moves still in his breast
That he might chant above the rest
Striving for more than to do well,
That nightingales he might excel.
My fifth, whose down is yet scarce gone,
Is 'mongst the shrubs and bushes flown,
And as his wings increase in strength,
On higher boughs he'll perch at length.
My other three still with me nest,
Until they're grown, then as the rest,
Or here or there they'll take their flight,
As is ordained, so shall they light.
If birds could weep, then would my tears
Let others know what are my fears
Lest this my brood some harm should catch,
And be surprised for want of watch,
Whilst pecking corn and void of care,
They fall un'wares in fowler's snare,
Or whilst on trees they sit and sing,
Some untoward boy at them do fling,
Or whilst allured with bell and glass,
The net be spread, and caught, alas.
Or lest by lime-twigs they be foiled,
Or by some greedy hawks be spoiled.
O would my young, ye saw my breast,
And knew what thoughts there sadly rest,
Great was my pain when I you fed,
Long did I keep you soft and warm,
And with my wings kept off all harm,
My cares are more and fears than ever,
My throbs such now as 'fore were never.
Alas, my birds, you wisdom want,
Of perils you are ignorant;
Oft times in grass, on trees, in flight,
Sore accidents on you may light.
O to your safety have an eye,
So happy may you live and die.
Meanwhile my days in tunes I'll spend,
Till my weak lays with me shall end.
In shady woods I'll sit and sing,
And things that past to mind I'll bring.
Once young and pleasant, as are you,
But former toys (no joys) adieu.
My age I will not once lament,
But sing, my time so near is spent.
And from the top bough take my flight
Into a country beyond sight,
Where old ones instantly grow young,
And there with seraphims set song;
No seasons cold, nor storms they see;
But spring lasts to eternity.
When each of you shall in your nest
Among your young ones take your rest,
In chirping language, oft them tell,
You had a dam that loved you well,
That did what could be done for young,
And nursed you up till you were strong,
And 'fore she once would let you fly,
She showed you joy and misery;
Taught what was good, and what was ill,
What would save life, and what would kill.
Thus gone, amongst you I may live,
And dead, yet speak, and counsel give:
Farewell, my birds, farewell adieu,
I happy am, if well with you.



Anne Bradstreet


--Did You Know: (c. 1612 – September 16, 1672) Anne Bradstreet was New England's first published poet. Her work met with a positive reception in both the Old World and the New World. Bradstreet was born Anne Dudley in Northampton, England, 1612. She was the daughter of Thomas Dudley, a steward of the Earl of Lincoln, and Dorothy Yorke. Due to her family's position she grew up in cultured circumstances and was a well-educated woman for her time, being tutored in history, several languages and literature. At the age of sixteen she married Simon Bradstreet. Both Anne's father and husband were later to serve as governors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Anne and Simon, along with Anne's parents, immigrated to America aboard the Arbella as part of the Winthrop Fleet of Puritan emigrants in 1630. Bradstreet's education gave her advantages to write with authority about politics, history, medicine, and theology. Her personal library of books was said to have numbered over 800, before many were destroyed when her home burned down. This event itself inspired a poem entitled "Upon the Burning of Our House July 10th, 1666". She rejects the anger and grief that this worldly tragedy has caused her and instead looks toward God. Read more at: Anne Bradstreet.

--Word of the Day: solecism \SOL-uh-siz-uhm\, noun:
1. A breach of good manners or etiquette.
2. A nonstandard or ungrammatical usage, as unflammable and they was.
3. Any error, impropriety, or inconsistency.
Example:
To pick a fight with a visiting lord is a solecism, but being caught that way would have put the solecism squarely on Minch's head…
-- Joel Rosenburg, Hour of the Octopus

--Quote of the Day: The most dangerous phrase in the language is,
"We've always done it this way."
- Grace Hopper

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January 12, 2012

A Song of Enchantment

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--Description: 20th C, de la Mare W ., Contentment, Nature-- 
 
A song of Enchantment I sang me there,
In a green-green wood, by waters fair,
Just as the words came up to me
I sang it under the wild wood tree.

Widdershins turned I, singing it low,
Watching the wild birds come and go;
No cloud in the deep dark blue to be seen
Under the thick-thatched branches green.

Twilight came: silence came:
The planet of Evening's silver flame;
By darkening paths I wandered through
Thickets trembling with drops of dew.

But the music is lost and the words are gone
Of the song I sang as I sat alone,
Ages and ages have fallen on me -
On the wood and the pool and the elder tree.



Walter de la Mare
--Did You Know: (25 April 1873 – 22 June 1956) Walter de la Mare was an English poet, short story writer and novelist, probably best remembered for his works for children and the poem "The Listeners". He was born in Kent (at 83 Maryon Road, Charlton,[2] now part of the London Borough of Greenwich), descended from a family of French Huguenots, and was educated at St Paul's Cathedral School. His first book, Songs of Childhood, was published under the name Walter Ramal. He worked in the statistics department of the London office of Standard Oil for eighteen years while struggling to bring up a family, but nevertheless found enough time to write, and, in 1908, through the efforts of Sir Henry Newbolt he received a Civil List pension which enabled him to concentrate on writing. De la Mare also wrote some subtle psychological horror stories; "Seaton's Aunt" and "Out of the Deep" are noteworthy examples. His 1921 novel, Memoirs of a Midget, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Read more at: Walter de la Mare

--Word of the Day: paregmenon \puh-REG-muh-non\, noun:
The juxtaposition of words that have a common derivation, as in “sense and sensibility.”
Example:
Although as artificial as his use of traductio, this use of paregmenon at least reveals Sidney's ingenuity and wit.
-- Sherod M. Cooper, The Sonnets of Astrophel and Stella

--Quote of the Day: "We all go through life bristling
at our external limitations,
but the most difficult chains
to break are inside us."
- Bradley Whitford

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January 10, 2012

Winter

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--Description: 17th C, Shakespeare W., Nature, Seasons--


When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When Blood is nipped and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who;
Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-who;
Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.



William Shakespeare

--Did You Know: (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays,154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. Read more at: William Shakespeare

--Poetry Terminology: Elizabethan Poets-
Group of poets including Shakespeare, Sir Walter Ralegh, Sir Philip Sidney and Ben Jonson who were writing during the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603).

--Word of the Day: cleave \kleev\, verb:
1. To adhere closely; stick; cling.
2. To remain faithful.
3. To split or divide by or as if by a cutting blow, especially along a natural line of division, as the grain of wood.
4. To make by or as if by cutting.
5. To penetrate or pass through (air, water, etc.).
6. To cut off; sever.
7. To part or split, especially along a natural line of division.
8. To penetrate or advance by or as if by cutting.
Example:
It bothers him as much as it bothers you, but he is a man of faith and the Bible says that a man should leave his mother and father and cleave unto his wife.
-- H.O. Fischer, For This Land

--Quote of the Day: "This above all, to thine own self be true."
- William Shakespeare

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January 8, 2012

Spring Morning

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--Description: 20th C, Houseman A.E., Love, Nature, Seasons-- 

Star and coronal and bell
April underfoot renews,
And the hope of man as well
Flowers among the morning dews.

Now the old come out to look,
Winter past and winter's pains,
How the sky in pool and brook
Glitters on the grassy plains.

Easily the gentle air
Wafts the turning season on;
Things to comfort them are there,
Though 'tis true the best are gone.

Now the scorned unlucky lad
Rousing from his pillow gnawn
Mans his heart and deep and glad
Drinks the valiant air of dawn.

Half the night he longed to die,
Now are sown on hill and plain
Pleasures worth his while to try
Ere he longs to die again.

Blue the sky from east to west
Arches, and the world is wide,
Though the girl he loves the best
Rouses from another's side.


Alfred Edward Houseman

--Did You Know: (26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936) Houseman usually known as A. E. Housman, was an English classical scholar and poet, best known for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems were mostly written before 1900. Their wistful evocation of doomed youth in the English countryside, in spare language and distinctive imagery, appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early twentieth century English composers (beginning with Arthur Somervell) both before and after the First World War. Through its song-setting the poetry became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself. Housman was counted one of the foremost classicists of his age, and has been ranked as one of the greatest scholars of all time.[1] He established his reputation publishing as a private scholar and, on the strength and quality of his work, was appointed Professor of Latin at University College London and later, at Cambridge. Read more at: A.E. Houseman

--Word of the Day: hiemal \HAHY-uh-muhl\, adjective:
Of or pertaining to winter; wintry.
Example:
Since snow and frost lasted from October well into April, no wonder the mean of my school memories is definitely hiemal.
-- Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

--Quote of the Day: "We can always choose to perceive things differently.
You can focus on what's wrong in your life, or you can focus on what's right."
- Marianne Williamson.


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January 7, 2012

My Heart is Heavy

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--Description: 20th C, Teasedale S., Love, Memories, Nature, Sadness--


My heart is heavy with many a song
Like ripe fruit bearing down the tree,
But I can never give you one --
My songs do not belong to me.

Yet in the evening, in the dusk
When moths go to and fro,
In the gray hour if the fruit has fallen,
Take it, no one will know.


Sarah Teasedale

--Did You Know: (August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933) Sara Teasedale was an American lyrical poet. She was born Sarah Trevor Teasdale in St. Louis, Missouri. Throughout her life, Teasdale suffered poor health and it was only at age 9 that she was well enough to begin school. In 1898 she went to Mary Institute and to Hosmer Hall in 1899 where she finished in 1903. In 1913 Teasdale fell in love with poet Vachel Lindsay. He wrote her daily love letters, but nevertheless she married Ernst Filsinger in 1914 when she was 30; he was a rich businessman. Teasdale and Lindsay remained friends throughout their lives. In 1918, her poetry collection Love Songs won three awards: the Columbia University Poetry Society prize, the 1918 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the annual prize of the Poetry Society of America. She was not happy in her marriage, becoming divorced in 1929. In 1933, she committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. The poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" from her 1920 collection Flame and Shadow inspired and featured in a famous short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury. Read more at: Sara Teasedale

--Word of the Day: gasconade \gas-kuh-NEYD\, noun:
1. Extravagant boasting; boastful talk.
verb:
1. To boast extravagantly; bluster.
Example:
The British officers laugh, because they are well armed and many, and Kemal's men are pitifully few, but they enjoy and admire Kemal's swashbuckling gasconade, and they let his party pass.
-- Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings

--Quote of the Day: "A good question is never answered.
It is not a bolt to be tightened into place
but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed
toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea."
- John Ciardi

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