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How Distant

 How distant, the departure of young men
Down valleys, or watching
The green shore past the salt-white cordage
Rising and falling.
Cattlemen, or carpenters, or keen Simply to get away From married villages before morning, Melodeons play On tiny decks past fraying cliffs of water Or late at night Sweet under the differently-swung stars, When the chance sight Of a girl doing her laundry in the steerage Ramifies endlessly.
This is being young, Assumption of the startled century Like new store clothes, The huge decisions printed out by feet Inventing where they tread, The random windows conjuring a street.

by Philip Larkin
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