Poetry Blog by Jill Ashforth

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jennifer Malden on Lockdown Walk (Sun, 14 Jun 2020 09:16 am)

keith jeffries on Inverleith Park at Sunset (Sun, 3 May 2020 05:39 pm)

Adam Rabinowitz on Skipness (Tue, 27 Aug 2019 07:52 am)

Adriana de los Angeles Diaz Rizo on Sugarworks for me (Mon, 26 Aug 2019 09:24 pm)

Jill Ashforth on Reverie’s Garden (Mon, 26 Aug 2019 09:04 pm)

Jill Ashforth on Reverie’s Garden (Mon, 26 Aug 2019 09:03 pm)

Jill Ashforth on Flor de Mai (Mon, 26 Aug 2019 09:01 pm)

Jill Ashforth on Dawn (Mon, 26 Aug 2019 08:58 pm)

Jill Ashforth on Dawn (Mon, 26 Aug 2019 08:57 pm)

Jill Ashforth on Sugarworks for me (Mon, 26 Aug 2019 08:53 pm)

Park Life

The light flickers and quivers,

dancing on the ground.

Above my head the summer foliage sways in the breeze.

Thick and luxuriant,

it ripples and undulates like shifting waves of greenery in an ocean of leaves.

I inhale the intoxicating presence of the avenue of trees, 

gazing at sunbathers spread eagled on the grassy slopes

and walkers strolling gently downhill.

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Parksummertrees

Lockdown Walk

Outside, and

the shadows flicker on the dusty ground beneath my feet.

I raise my gaze and take a sharp intake of breath

as the scent of blossom fills my nostrils.

Such an abundance of beauty swaying from the branches of just one slender tree.

Sunlight blazes golden in the water.

The outline of an abandoned bicycle looms underneath ignored by the wildlife

paddling unperturbed a...

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Lockdowntime passingwalk

Dawn

Dawn greets the world with a burgeoning of ochre

and lemon yellow light that blushes warmly.

The land is bathed in a dewy mist

and landmarks emerge in bold boulders of emerald green, crimson and turquoise blue.

Cerulean blue meets cerulean blue

with a horizon that stretches endlessly.

 

Slithers of land divide sky and sea,

slicing the world into sections that shimmer and gl...

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colourDawnsun

In Memory

My cat pressed his face urgently into mine

and called a deep, throaty cry,

and I cried for the boy who never was.

A knot of grief unraveled with my tears.

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Grieftears

Rain

Darkly damson silky petals flop

hanging gently in mid air.

They cluster together splashing colour vividly amongst the greenery.

A spray of white blossom hangs over the dusky velvety leaves

and their light accents glow.

In the background water makes its way downhill,

flowing gently between the mossy stones

and the feathery ferns waving in the breeze.

 

Bird song completes...

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beautyflowersrainSummerhouse

Inverleith Park at Sunset

The trees gather at the water's edge,

studying their reflections,

entranced.

Admiring their own grandeur,

the fine lines of their winter coats

revealed in the pond at their feet,

they murmur approval as they quiver their branches.

I walk amongst them

and worship at their beauty.

The clouds are reflected in the water

and glow as if echoing the opinion of the trees.

...

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AvenuebeautyEdinburghInverleith Parksunsettrees

Toys and Make Believe

Long ago,

longing for a doll's house, 

a teddy bear,

and a ventriloquist puppet.

Longing to be held, comforted, soothed.

Longing for the safety of home,

something to cuddle and a companion.

Longing for the pleasure of play,

the delight in losing oneself in make believe:

escaping reality.

I picture myself,

five years old and,

painting in my yellow, plastic smock ...

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comfortmake believepaintoys

Being with you

The world would be a sad place without you:

with you, is everything.

I love being with you.

I love the feel of your warm breath on my face

as we lay side by side.

I breathe in your essence 

as we embrace

and as I lay on your chest

feeling you rise and fall.

Skin on skin.

I am content,

full to the brim with the warmth of your love.

I am held, secure,

complete.

...

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completecontentLove

Myself

I see myself in a cerulean blue sea of balance 

with depths of ultramarine.

I am an island of content in cadmium yellow with fringes of frivolous lemon yellow

and hints of passionate alizarin crimson.

In orbit around me are my family, friends and loved ones

who are moons of solid ochre yellow love.

They hold me.

This is my tiny portion of the universe.

My world.

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content.friendsloveMy world

Tribute to John Muir

I sat in the shade of the Giant Sequoia 

and it seemed as if I'd been transported to a summer's day.

Only the snowdrops reminded me it was still winter.

Tears filled my eyes as I embraced the soft, burnt umber bark.

I breathed in its life force as I lay my soft pink flesh on its woody flesh.

Time stood still

and I felt blessed.

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blessingEdinburgh Botanical GardensGiant SequoiaJohn Muirlife forceTrees

Edinburgh Late Afternoon

Orange beacons lead the way

toward a fiery sky that glows like the last embers in a hearth.

The charcoal shadows of evening draw near

and I hurry home in my 'teddy bear' coat.

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EdinburghskyWinter

Bath Time

Candle light cuts through a haze of steam

bringing warmth and hope in the darkness.

Moisture glistens in tiny droplets

that linger momentarily before they drop.

Ripples of light wriggling in the water

weave beautiful patterns, 

beckoning me to plunge into the bath.

 

...I am at peace.

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Bathcandle lightmoisturerippleswater

The Bus Stop

A woman at the bus stop wears a candy striped skirt. 
It billows around her a la Marilyn Munroe

and puts me in mind of pink candy floss and a fun fair.

Soft, silver silhouettes sway gently against the whiskery wood.

Sharp railing spikes look ready to pierce any shadows with their fierce arrow heads.

And then they are gone behind a cloud.

Ginger, lime and gold lollipops hang from th...

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Bus stopleavesMarilyn Monroemodern buildingsold buildingsshadowstrees

Autumn Smokers

The crisp, golden colours of autumn foliage

set a backdrop of warm russets and oranges along the side street.

They glow as the bold shapes of the street lights cut through them,

angular and steely, petrol blue in the twilight.

Dusty, dark bark against the flutter of soft, yet crumpled orange leaves.

So delicate, so beautiful and so impermanent like the heady days of a butterfly.

...

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Autumnleavessmokerstreestwilight

The Colour of Balance

I have found

the blue sea of balance and tranquility.

It rests inside of me.

I float through its silver mists of hope

and flip, flop my feet in its depths.

Bubbles of content come to the surface and pop!

I have found myself clothed in equilibrium 

and the colours suit me well.

Faith and love give me buoyancy and

I am held and nourished by your belief in me.

Serenity a...

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balancelovepeaceserenity

How am I?

Obliterating opaqueness opens up into sunlight.

Spiders of colour 

smudge the ocean.

Lapping water creates islands

of shimmering, fuzzy warmth.

It is freeing yet connecting.

I sputter and splash amongst the crevices of land.

Floating, I am curious.

I breathe a light, cooling tranquility 

and gaze as I am gently held in a sheer, cooling calm.

 

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calmmists of hopeseastranquilityWater

Kevin

Lover

your love takes my breath away.

I come up for air, and

your kisses breathe life,

and love, into my being.

You clinch me in your embrace:

your love takes my breath away,

smothers me with kisses,

until,

I come up for air, yet again.

Entangled, we cling to one another,

floating on a raft of love.

We are one,

joined,

as one,

always.

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alwaysjoinedkissesLovelover

Inverleith Avenue

Inverleith Avenue

watery, winter sun,

liquid gold.

suddenly shoots a

fuzzy spotlight on me.

Dazzled,

ecstatic.

Slow burn,

inner warmth.

Cold electric blue sky,

serried ranks of trees

standing to attention,

stripped bare in their

winter skeletons.

Gnarled,

hoary,

but beautiful.

Stripped of the frivolous

garnishing of summer,

growing old grace...

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AvenueTreeswaitingwinterwise protectors

It is a Gift...

It is a gift you have.

you envelop me in your arms

and I feel emotion flood through my body.

Sadness bubbles to the surface and is gone.

Loneliness too.

Its strangling grip loosens,

falls away.

It has no hold over me when you are near.

Instead, you fill me with light and hope

and my heart sings a melody of love and trust.

The weight of life becomes a blessing to treas...

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giftlonelinessLovesadnesstreasure

Skipness

The horizon stretches

to infinity as cerulean sky

meets ultramarine:

the sky embraces the sea with a kiss,

 

and I feel as though I must soon melt

into the foaming, salty waters

trickling through my toes.

The sun beats harshly upon the crown of my head,

 

and my skin prickles,

droplets of moisture surfacing

amongst the bloom of heat on my cheeks.

I inhale the...

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beautyhighlandssandScotlandseaSkipnesssky

Reverie’s Garden

A garden for reflection.

In the twilight iridescent globes glow,

leading one down the path,

past mosaics to the summerhouse of contemplation.

The cherry tree remembers a loved one

as its confetti drifts downwards to the ground.

A camellia showers the soil with a carpet of blooms.

The magnolia flowers elegantly in a corner.

A pair of collared doves alight the bird feeder.

...

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collared dovescontemplationgardenLovereverie

Flor de Mai

You were languishing in your supermarket prison,

surrounded by your companions wearing Mexican hats.

Googly eyes pierced their flesh with thick black moustaches,

drooping and glued underneath.

I rescued you and your fellow inmates from your humiliation.

Today, you sit proudly on the studio desk lit by the sunshine.

Your fleshy leaf-like pads have stretched out into the room with ...

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blooming healthCactusFlor de Maiplantsrescue

Rainbows Of Hope

Rainbows of hope glitter,

slithers of silver that shimmer,

and promise many things.

Full of light they colour everything around them.

Hues of hope stain your face with beautiful shades.

Hands that caress glow with warm light,

and hearts quicken.

Palettes of hope paint a future that is filled with pleasure and laughter.

Rainbows of hope adorn the dawn sky.

Horizons widen ...

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happinesshope.Love

Bach’s Preludes And Fuges

I cling to my dreams,

but the piano’s melody pulls me into consciousness.

 

Heavy with sleep,

a teddy bear clutches at my heart.

 

At my window,

branches form a percussion in my head.

 

I am awake.

Butterflies stir in my stomach now.

 

I free myself and begin the dance of today,

as I am softly drawn into the safety of my father’s music.

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alone in the presence of another.Awakeningdreamssafety

The Time Traveller

If I could, what would I say to myself?

 

Aged five. At the hospital, playing with my new sunglasses and viewing the world from behind sunshine yellow tinted frames,

whilst butterfies flutter inside my tummy.

”Mummy will live and laugh again.”

 

Aged fifteen. At secondary school, pulling down my skirt and getting to my feet, numb and hollow.

”It’s not your fault.”

 

Aged...

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adviceTime travelwisdomyounger self

Echoes

Echoes of my illness play in my head.

Stories play in my head:

replay, replay in my head.

I hear their music.

I hear their voices in my head.

Ripples of memory

that remind me of my illness.

I remember as I walk the supermarket aisles,

as I sit, hair dripping at the hairdresser, sipping tea,

sat clutching my bag in the back of a taxi.

Echoes of an illness reverberate 

...

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echoesMental illnessreminders.thoughts

The Cat Who Forgot How To Miaow

I came across my ex in the cat food aisle.

We spoke yet remained unheard.

Nothing changes.

We have forgotten how to talk.

Conversations littered our marriage.

Like unwanted debris, words missed their mark,

missed their meaning.

Missed connections breed

and pollute our lives like an illness.

And now even our cat,

stands silent at the door:

the cat who forgot how to ...

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Catex’smarriage breakdownmiscommunication

Bodies

Mother:

I look at your body with curiosity.

Your curves, hirsute and strange,

fill me with awe.

You undulate where as a child I am firm and flat.

Mother:

same four walls,

waiting for me to anoint your back.

Bent and frail,

spent, wrinkled, deflated,

unsure where once you were deft.

I look at your body with curiosity.

Mine will follow,

always behind.

I shad...

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agingdaughterfrailtyMotherold age

Doorways

I stand, hovering, behind you,

ready to take over, if needed.

You wheel yourself in the hospital wheelchair,

resisting my offers of assistance.

We pass doorways with patients in each room.

Different voices greet us,

giving a snapshot of lives interrupted by illness and injury.

Mum peers into each room, scanning for a familiar face.

”Hello Jean.”

”It’s the buttons that de...

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Doorwayshospitalillnessinjuryrecovery

Dawn

A thought awakes me,

and I cling on to the memory of a loved one.

Bird song, faint but swelling,

catches at my heart,

as I pull up the blind revealing the world below.

Light beckons me,

and I press my face against the pane.

I gaze, long and hard as if searching for someone.

My breath mists the glass, and I wave it away,

"Here I am".

Without a sound spoken I have woken...

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coloursdawnlightskywatching

City Life

A city awakens,

grumbling,

stumbling to it's feet.

A chorus heralds the next day.

Bin lorries screech and wheeze into movement.

Delivery vans close their double doors with a shudder and roar,

engines engaged.

A shouted greeting cuts through the air.

Cars appear, footsteps multiply.

City life increases it's pace and we continue,

keeping abreast lest we fall,

and beh...

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birdsdawnLifenoises

A Bird's Eye View

Looking skywards,

gazing,

searching for the songbird who serenades me as I rest.

Weary, but full of wonder,

as the gulls circle and soar further into the sun drenched blue sky above me.

Tiny flickers of colour flit past,

darting from one treetop to another,

while plump wood pigeons sway on slender branches,

and ducks dive bomb the trees,

flapping frantically,

untl the...

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Bird's eye viewbirdsobservingpassers bywatching life

Sugarworks for me

Music speaks.

Music is heard,

And we must reply.

A clap, cheer or whistle

Fills the room.

A clink of glasses,

Shifting feet, shuffling.

We are an abstract art,

Disparate sounds, voices

Harmonising when we connect.

A keyboard riff,

An order at the bar,

A passing moped - 

A city joining in.

Sugarwork me

And I'm lost in a tapestry of sound.

An orchestra...

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EdinburghfestivalJazz BarSoundSugarwork

Remembering

Echoes of emotions wash over me as I gaze and remember.

I laid,

Bewitched and writhing under covers

As angels rustled,

their dresses sweeping past my bed,

and gently approached to anoint my forehead with a kiss.

Their touch startled me from my sad reverie, and I breathed once more.

Deep, gasping breaths

That filled my lungs with hope.

Grief past,

The sadness subsided,

...

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angelsdepressiongriefguardianslifelovesadness

Light and Shade

As if sloughing off a skin and emerging

After a painful rebirth, and yes, there were tears.

Emerging into the light after months, years of being in the shade.

When caught in a grey void, time slows, and I fear I will fall with no one to catch me.

Running into the headlights, I fear I will run too fast and fall, spinning into a white void.

I do not fall but stumble, and carry on stro...

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depressionlifelightrebirthrebornstrongertimevoids

Love

My gifts are paltry, but if I could, I would pluck a star from the inky blue sky,

gather the white gold silk of clouds,

bottle the sultry perfume of the flowers,

and build a monument to my love,

a tower of love.

Love for you, only you,

my love.

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giftslovemonument

Blaikie Wood

The traffic fumes and roars, deafening my thoughts.

Bark glistens in wrinkled folds with charcoal accents, smudged.

An electric blue flashes cool and a flood of beauty washes over me

as dark, emerald burrs softly quiver.

A wall of trees shields and deadens all sounds.

Silence beckons me.

 

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beautysilencetraffictreeswood

Norwegian Wood

I walk amongst the trees but who is there to hear?

I whisper and let my voice rustle the leaves until their tremors cease.

Hoarse and weary, not heard, not seen, I wonder if I have ever been. 

A Norwegian hillside, a Norwegian wood, I sing your song.

Hear me.

There is much talking but who is there ever to hear?

In life, I roar silently as people pass, unseeing.

Soundless, I mo...

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Norwegiannot listeningsilencetreeswood

Life is a Map

Life is a map,

scaled to fit ones horizons.

Cities are a woven web of avenues,

with vines and branches that spread.

Roads, train tracks, canals, rivers, lakes and mountains

mark their territory with a tracery of lines.

They weave a pattern like the doodling of a bored giant.

Take a line for a walk.

Draw me a path home.

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citiesdoodlingmapswalk

Walking Home at Dusk

A moment,

a ripple in time

in the muddy waters of life.

Grey faces standing at the bus stop,

weary.

A watery sunset glows, pinkly golden,

unnoticed.

I walk past and breath life into the scene

with a vapour of hope

escaping from my mouth,

lips stretching in a smile.

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Duskhappinesslifesunset

The Waiting Room by Tindersticks

The fear of emptiness.

Drink to the future, not to forget the past.

I'm your second chance, last chance man.

Time is running out.

Don't let me suffer.

It's the caring that is killing me.

Don't make me fall.

We are planting holes.

We are planting holes in the waiting room.

We are dreamers.

Dont wake me.

We will only hurt each other,

the way only lovers can.

Wh...

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lifeLove

A Gift of Love

Loneliness breeds sadness.

Like an illness it spreads,

takes hold,

takes ones breath away,

and,

grips ones heart,

tight

in a strangling knot

of grief.

An apparition of love

appears to soothe and comfort,

but as it evaporates and is gone,

a wave of emptiness takes it's place.

A look, a gesture, seems to offer love,

but it is only a memory,

fading fast.

...

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loneliness. giftLove

Today's pleasures

Tiny moments of pleasure,

Like the weight of a warm paw, soft in the palm of your hand.

Like the silky fur of a sleeping cat heavy on your lap.

Like the warmth of a fleecy rug tucked under your chin.

Like the sense of your body sinking lower into cushions.

Like the undulating swell of traffic passing your window

in crashing waves of sound.

Like the smell of coffee as you savou...

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Pleasure

Lost

With each step I take

I shrink in stature

until I become a child once again

looking nervously around and

trying to recognise where I am.

I fear I may shrink until I disappear

and become lost forever.

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depressedfearfullost

An old love that deepens

An old love that changes and deepens.

An old love that fits like a glove;

rather saggy and stretched, creased and worn but comfortable and strong:

always there, always caring, always true.

Laughter follows you around and fills the void in me.

Your love pours out and over flows into the cracks in my soul.

Your friendship is a safety net strung below me as I tip toe over life's roo...

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friendshiplaughterlove

Skipness Painting

Like

stormy weather,

the paint is splattered

in raindrops.

wet,

sponging,

washes.

Sun making me giddy

under a hot sky,

with subtle clouds and

a delicate palette of blues,

a sense of vastness overwhelms me.

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paintingScotlandseaSkipnesssky

Porto Colom Beach

Candy striped umbrellas

jostle for space on the beach

amongst spread-eagled limbs.

Oiled and golden brown they bake in the sun.

Lily white legs stand,

hot sand trickling between their toes.

Stout tummies lead the way

into cool lapping water,

wading, slow, heavy with

sagging, ponderous thighs.

Children lunge bravely into the deep

and bob to the surface,

grinning ...

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Majorcaseasunsun bathing

Dreams of Pushkar

Dusk falls and bells toll,

echoing across the ghats.

Holy men chant their prayers,

fruit bats soar and glide

across the moonlit, silky grey sky

and a heady, heavy perfume drifts in the cooling breeze.

Relaxing, remembering the bells,

the drums and pipes of Pushkar's bustling daytime.

Sleep will come soon.

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duskIndiaPushkar

Agra's Jewel

Our hotel - a hermetically sealed bubble of glass,

concrete and polished floors,

is chilly and anonymous.

But as dawn blossoms quietly

we approach the Jewel of Agra.

A grieving husband remembers

with a monument to love:

the Taj Mahal.

It radiates a powerful aura of peace,

delicate and glowing

in the silver light.

Birds flit across the roof

and I stand, 

gazin...

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dawnIndialoveTaj Mahal

Sunrises

Pink tendrils trail

the sky, gathering

in a salmon cloud

of dusky smoke.

Dark brush strokes

of lilac sweep the

skyline, getting lost

in the tangle of

inky branches

silhouetting the sky.

A morass of interwoven 

trunks, like a spider's web

gone wild and

overgrown.

So delicate, so

soon lost,

evaporated, nothing but

a memory in

the heart and soul.

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memoriessunrisetrees

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