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Autumns Warning

Updated on October 24, 2015

Like a child clinging to its mother‘s leg,

summer clings graciously to leaves.

Resisting an inevitable conclusion.

The leaves dance with color, knowing all the while,

such beauty marks the death of them.

The tree’s flowing, green, shimmering and tattered dress,

cascades piece by piece to ground and grave.

She stands naked, stripped of a passing dignity.

Waiting instead, the cold, sterile, white of winter cloth.

The air exhales a morning chill.

It’s icy breath languishing upon morning’s virgin grass.

Approaching winter sends warning of its coming,

painting the ground in crystal colored, frozen mist.

Nature will carry her pregnancy to spring

and suckle her infant in summer’s warm green grass.

The children of summer will vanish in departing leaves

as the barren womb prepares another term.

Another long, winter’s pregnancy. Seeded in anticipation

of another birth, another distant joy.

Seeded with a coming spring, with the green leaves of a coming summer.

I resist tomorrow and the sterile business of winter.

I cling like stubborn leaves in want of summer’s warmth.

In want of one more summer’s day.

Autumn’s stay is so short lived. It clings to dying summer.

Like beauty begging one more day from youth.

The season will bed the naked tree and seed the earth again,

keeping the hope of Spring, deep in incubated warmth.

Deep in the snow covered womb of winter.

Nature is unimpressed with what I want.

It is her way to give birth; to bury her children in my memory.

I will gather the flowers of autumn and press them between the pages of my days.

Someone must mark the graves.


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    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hello Phyllis! Thank you for the gracious comment and the follow. I look forward to acquainting myself with your work also.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      This is a beautiful poem that brings out all the emotions and pondering of and for the seasons and their reasons. I love the analogies you express and how one season is preparation for the next.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hello LaThing, thank you so very much for reading and for the lovely comment. it is deeply appreciated.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hi Jools, thanks so much for the gracious comment. There is much to learn of life in watching the seasons.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hello Pavlo, thanks for reading. I don't like Winter and yet, I know there is great beauty in it. Can't get past the cold and it the incubation it imposes on my life.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

      Pavlo Badovskyi 5 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      I do not like autumn. I mean it... But your vision of this season has shown that there is much beauty in autumn as well. Great hub!

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      Very beautiful! Fall is my favorite season, the chill in the air, the color, the sunshine..... You described its coming so well. Enjoyed it very much, voting up and awesome!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Arb, just gorgeous - the metaphors are wonderful, this is cinematic and beautiful. The seasons all segue into one another; each one shouldering off its shapes, colours and climate for the next and we change ourselves to live life as they do so.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hello sweet pea! Each season is a cycle unto itself and yet part of another. All things work together whether we stand unaware or with awe. We are more than spectators, we are perhaps, being prepared for yet, another cycle.

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 5 years ago

      Nature is unimpressed with what I want, it is her way to give birth and to bury her children in my memory

      I will gather the flowers of Fall and keep them for this Winter. Someone must mark the graves.


      Such a powerful bitter sweet expression arb; I cannot even begin to express ho much it touched me. For you to express the circle of life hidden within the veil of nature. It is true how we with words would often require aid of a shade in the harsh sun as we slowly wither...

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hi Jaye, How delightful that you grace my Autumn poem with reading and so gracious a comment. I have been enjoying your flash fiction. I am buried in preparation for my upcoming vacation (Saturday). Look forward to a return and more of your magic.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      What a magnificent poem by the Master of Metaphor, Alan! How lovely to vicariously enjoy the change in seasons from your perspective through the glorious word pictures you paint.

      The demarcation between summer and fall is much less pronounced here in the Deep South, USA, and even the changing foliage colors are not as brilliant, the palette less broad. Leaves are now beginning to fall during the rains that visit us often during September, but they lie on the ground as smudges that are mostly brown with a few tinges of yellow and faint smears of red. Snow here is a rarity, and our winters are often mild. A heavy coat gets very little use!

      Like Nellieanna, I will enjoy those days when there is no need for air conditioning, and I look forward to the first naturally chill morning--the one that brings with it the special fragrance of autumn. Perhaps the smell derives from my imagination--a sensory memory from childhood visits to my grandparents' farm. Even though I have a milder autumn than the one you experience, it's still my favorite time of year.

      Thank you for your beautiful verses that summon up the death and rebirth of seasons so vividly.


    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Theresa - I enjoyed your comments here! We both seem to have gained insight from seeing the Autumn from Alan's perspective and location. I'm intrigued by your description of yours and can't help but notice some things about it which correspond with mine.

      Our latitudes in Dallas and Atlanta are very similar, - within a degree, with yours being the more northerly degree, though longitudes surely must have seasonal effects, as well, plus nearnesses to large bodies of water, and - as you've said, related to altitudes.

      But it's amazing how similar the periods of our seasons are! Here, summer winks at us in May and grabs us by the scruff during the last half of June. Its intensity reigns through mid Sept., tapering off to make way for Fall's preludes, shows its colors and prevailing mildness in October which lasts sporadically up towards Thanksgiving, when increasing colder weather from then through December descends. Occasionally there is an early snow, but many years, none at all. The serious winter months are January and February, when significant snows and ice storms are most likely if they're to be. The wintry stuff tapers off till mid-March when Spring springs and lasts throughout most of May. June days vary, but can be quite balmy. Many days during transition times, there's need for neither A/C nor furnace, especially May and October. It's so pleasant to open the house, and it's with reluctance that I close it in favor of artificial climate! Anytime I can, I open it up and have only fans going.

      Today in mid Sept, I've needed neither. This pleasantness is lasting several days. There will be no more really intense heat, I'm certain.

      I love your hub about Autumn, btw. I just visited it.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Good Morning Theresa! I suspect we all write from where we are and from where we feed. How could we do any less. I wonder if the inuit are touched by Autumn poems or the Masai. Probably not.

      I am still very busy. The non profit organization which is contracting work to me is buried under an onslaught of claims and most are in some stage of an appeal process. I peruse medical files most of my day looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack so that I may challenge the findings of a review board or an adjudication process overworked and understaffed. In time, I will find a balanced work load. I would like to work about 20 hours a week for as long as I can. It is interesting work. Meanwhile the children continue to wait on the selling of thier Chicago home and are still living with us. Most of the time it is blessing. Sometimes it is animal house and romper room rolled into one. My want of solace sometimes diminishes the blessing and I must escape. A drive, a long walk. I would like to write, but, my blessed environment dictates anything but. I will think about why I begin my walks with my back to sun rise. It would be as easy to reverse my course. Interesting food for thought today. Not sure I've read "near side of Shadow". I will check this morning. I am far behind in reading and further in writing. If you noticed, I am only following 36 writers, Keeping up with what they write and commenting is nearly a full time job. It is 3:00 a.m. and I have no business being up, but, the tranquility is intoxicating. Be well dear Theresa and drink from the glass of gladness today. It will stir the poem in you!

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hello ImKarn23! Thanks for reading. I suspect the further north we are the more desperately we cling. BTW, I am set to visist your Canadian splendor next week. 10 days in Bannf and surrounding area. Hoping to catch the fall color.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 5 years ago

      ahhhh...i too cling to summer's warmth...almost

      absolutely beautiful poetry!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good evening, Alan. I must admit I have never given much thought to the incredibly varied experiences of autumn in our vast and expansive nation. Of course I knew the seasons were different, but I guess I thought most in terms of intensity, of extremes of temperature, lows and highs, snow, ice, and frigid winds or the lack thereof.

      Now that I think about it, I knew our summer was longer and farther north that winter was much longer…but in some strange way I thought of those seasons as stealing days and nights from each other, leaving the miracles of fall and spring intact.

      I must not have been paying close attention in science class in the 7th grade, because of course now I realize how silly my internal scheme was – based surely on my firm belief/desire that everyone deserves and surely gets an extended and marvelous autumn like I do. I feel rather sad for everyone who does not. Your phrasing is wonderful , autumn the season which is more subdued, but still seductive and enchanted.

      So it is not just a matter of being situated farther north, the intensity and length of winter is also a function of altitude. Heavens! I used to teach Geography at the university and we covered all of this! I guess when I was teaching about seasons and altitudes and precipitation, I was thinking in the abstract, the generic, and not imagining people I care about actually living in those regions and climatic conditions…I also would not have guessed that your altitude is so high, nor do I know what mine is.

      Now, I shall have to find out. I drive 30 miles north to the university and we are just short of the Appalachians. And even though we are not really in the mountains, the highways and roads do rise slowly and consistently. It is usually 5-10 degrees cooler at Reinhardt than at my house. (Savannah on the coast @ 50 ft, Atlanta/Marietta @ 1000 ft, Reinhardt University @ 1300-1400 ft, Braselton/top NE corner of the state @ 4,700 ft, Dallas/brother’s family @ 600 ft)

      I will indeed revel in our prolonged autumn – October, November, and usually most of December are far more fallish that winterish. Our first (sometimes only) week of ice and maybe snow will arrive anywhere between mid January and the end of February. Spring is usually the last week of February to the first week of May – the rest of May is quite hot and properly part of our long summer.

      But now I will not wonder anymore…I will imagine you quite bundled up, seldom outside except for brief forays, close to a fire with a dog nearby and the cold wind whistling outside. I will do my best, although it seems to largely be the work of serendipity as I can isolate no pattern, to scribble poems that are worth disturbing a winter’s nap. The only one I have to disturb any current nap is “Near Side in Shadow.”

      Have your work obligations eased off a bit? With the new course on my teaching plate this year, I have been rather overwhelmed, rather pleasant or probably not healthy for that matter, so I am concerned about your work load as well. It just struck me …not sure why, that on your walks, you return home facing into the sun…somehow that seems right and poetic and as it should be. :) ~~ Theresa

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      You inspire so many words on first response. But more, you stimulate opportunity to THINK. So I shall go and do that. Quietly. I'm worded out. Thank you.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      drbj! hello my friend and thank you for your warm comment! I am in need of all things warm.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      My sister shuns the sun for sensitivity also. My skin has my mothers dna and together with my french heritage I seem immune to its insistance that i surrender. I look forward to hearing from Mike again.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      How true - "Both (age and winter) color our chimneys white and . . . encourage our fondness for indoors." Great line!

      We're up to negotiation of the 'turmoil' of age's dictates, if and as we will, without expection and with willingness to accept her replies. Yes, that IS an extraordinary privilege, one which is open at the front, but less so at the back. We program our destiny.

      I guess that indoors needn't be our preference, but it is certainly a quite seductive fondness when these somewhat unwelcome visitors invade our space! I must admit to certain preference for indoors or shade, given my fair skin and intolerance of direct sun. In Texas, to need to cover every exposed bit of skin in order to bask in it is a bit of a hindrance. I must do it, though. In my crazy youth, I ignored these limits and paid a bit of a price and still, never achieved the desired tan I sought!

      It's good that you're are free from menace. Even at the ranch (only 40 or s miles from the border) these days, I wouldn't venture far alone. Indeed, I wouldn't dare BE alone there. Our Earth ha changed.

      BTW - I just heard via email from my beloved Michael (empire mike). He's been enwrapped in buying and moving into a heritage home in his little corner of Colorado and today was the first day he's been slightly back online, though he's still buried in packing boxes and all that folderol. He mentioned the onset of winter there, in contrast with my first glimmers of southern fall. I told him about your hub. When he's up and going, he'll probably visit, as much as he admires you!

      My thing for today is to BREATHE deeply. Ah!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      You do know how to paint a picture in words, arb. Absolutely beautiful.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hello victoria! I have missed you. Such absence does indeed, make the heart grow fonder! Thank you for reading and as always, for finding time to warm my heart with praise. There should be an award for such effort.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hi Susan! It is always a treat to hear from you. I have not shared this with anyone yet, but, I am blind in one eye. (since birth) It affects my view of life and the world I live in. It is my resident excuse for being exceedingly different. Thanks for reading. Be well dear Susan.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Thank you Audrey! What an absolutely divine comment. I shall treasure it long after fall departs. It will warm my heart in Winter when I recall Autumn's Warning.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hi butterfly! It is true that where I live invites a walk without the fear of menace. I shall hope that it does not ever change. Eventually age will dictate how often and how far, but, I will negotiate such turmoil when the time comes. Until then, I will as I want. What an extraordinary privilege. The coming of age and the coming of winter share a common imposition. Both color our chimneys white and both encourage our fondness for the indoors!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Winter will bed the naked tree--I love that. This is a beautiful poem, and a great metaphor. The last line is great, too. Someone has to mark the graves. Fall is so fleeting. Oh, Arb, this is so gorgeous!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Autumn is my favorite season yet I've never looked at it in the way that you do in your poem.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Well, if this isn't stunning, I don't know what is!

      The tree’s flowing, green, shimmering and tattered dress, cascades, piece by piece to ground and grave

      Gorgeous imagery throughout and so well crafted--you should be so proud of this--Sharing out among my poetry friends--

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Alan -- Your description gives me glimpses of just how it is. It seems almost an emotional roller coaster, from the high of lively beauty to the sudden sinking low of descent into subdued and graven colorlessness. With local bears' examples, perhaps it's small wonder you choose to nap a lot during your long winter.

      But now - still, how lovely, your idyllic walks, which you can enjoy all during summer and for awhile into fall! I can almost see and feel them from your poignant description, which is like poetry itself.

      This morning, a cool breeze wafts through my house from northwest to southeast between my open doors. I've been out before it was fully light, taking last minute trash to the can out by the back alley for emptying. How tempting to just keep walking and taking in the early day!

      Walking has always been my forte! For my first 40 years, it was my biggest - and my only independent - mode of transportation. I could have been an olympic walker! I still walk briskly wherever I walk, but walking alone in the city, even in my settled neighborhood, just wouldn't be prudent for me. (A good reason to 'get out of town'!! I miss the ranch and freedom when younger to wander around, even alone - even in town! I should have mentioned this as something I'd like to have kept from youth in response to your question in our collaboration!)

      Alas. It wouldn't do for me hike alone around fairly near WhiteRock Lake, though it's always pretty there; nor even to stroll alone closer to home, where glorious crepe myrtle still line my street and the boulevard from which it turns northward to grace many yards along the way. The specter of assaults on older folks is simply too grim. You might be assaulted by a bear on your walks, but here - another, somber kind of caution is needed.

      But it doesn't dim the spectacle I can see and feel! The sunsets are glorious! The scent of the air is pure ecstasy. Caressing of crisp breezes invigorates! The crepe myrtle bushes and trees are a marvel of colors ranging from pure white, through pink and lavender, to rose and deep cerise, with some almost red and purple blossom clusters here and there. It's as though the species first favored white light and then began to transform it for its palate into the two extremes of the rainbow, ranging through their tints & shades from lightest to deepest. They bloom almost all summer & far into the fall. It's like our compensation for the more narrow spectrum of fall leaf colors for us to enjoy.

      It's not what's 'out there', in any case. As in "A Room With A View", when the character, Mr. Emerson, declares, - patting his heart while offering their Florence hotel room which had a glorious view to the ladies, whose room had none, "I don't care what I see outside. My vision is within! Here is where the birds sing! Here is where the sky is blue!"

      Ah - there's the vision and view which need never diminish. With the magic of media of all kinds, one gets to share at will in others' visions, as well. Thank you, Alan - and Theresa - - all of you, for yours to add to my treasure trove.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Good morning Theresa! I marvel at the varied reflections of Autumn and well understand the geographical implications which precipitate exhilaration for some. Perhaps more subdued for me although I too am seduced by the coming splendor and welcome bathing my sleepy face in her morning offering. It is, I think the most enchanted season of all. Unfortunately, at an altitude of 3800 feet, its brevity is more a tease and the suddeness of Winter will spill upon us by mid Oct. Spring will not bear children until mid may and by then, cabin fever will have dazed and beaten us down. I will find short reprieves in going south come Jan. and Feb. I will wallow in memory and fantasy and awake to reality behind the calling of a snow shovel. My old bones will soak in hot tubs and refuse any timely exit. By spring I will look twice my shriveled age.

      For sweet Theresa, she will revel in the absence of sweltering and humid summers and wonder, what happend to Alan! I would like to think that I am at least as smart as the average bear. He knows enough to come in from the cold!

      Perhaps Theresa will write of warmth and color and I will find reason to leave my winters nap. I shall hope so.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hello hatter! What a wonderful treat to have you visit this morning. I love Autumn most of all, but I detest its brevity. It steals from me the full pleasure of its wonder by reminding me why it comes.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Good morning butterfly. My early morning walks beg contemplation. They are free of distraction and I beome lost in surroundings which have come to expect both my dog and I. My steps follow a daily and familiar route which follows a lazy and tranquil river. I begin with sunrise at my back and the changing season cold upon my face. When I make my turn I am into the sun and her extraordinary revelation exposes the day before my step. The river hugs three miles of luxurious parks and each morning the canadian geese provide an orchestrated accompanyment to the trek of early pilgrims. At an altitude of 3800 feet we feed from a fall more Winter than Summer in early morning and we here, have grown all too accustomed to the long visit of Winter. The first snows will come on the wings of beauty and we will yeild to her initial seduction. It will not take long however, before we learn that her beauty is skin deep and her true character steals all the color from my morning. Like watching movies in vivid color and then settling for black and white. I will call the cable company and they will tell me once again, we can not correct the problem untill spring.

      Your praise adds color to my garden this morning and I shall pick a flower to take along my walk. It will remind me of butterflies and warm my face with smile before I make my turn into the sun.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Alan -- I think this is my favorite line, "The tree’s flowing, green, shimmering and tattered dress, cascades, piece by piece to ground and grave." I like the words and the meaning, but the syllables and sounds please me as well. :) As you said in your post, so many autumnal poems...well it is time and many of us have been waiting (at least in the south) with great stoicism for the first morning chill to arrive. Your poem is both stark and lovely to me at the same time. ~~ Theresa

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Excellent! Summer was always Arlene and my best season, hence you will understand te chord strings this poem might pull. Thank you

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      "The air exhales a morning chill, its icy breath languishing upon morning’s virgin grass. . . ."

      Was there ever a more beautiful line ?? I think not.

      You show nature's rapacious appetite!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

      Oh, Alan. I'm without adequate words for the mixed feelings it's aroused.

      The title should have warned me, but the splendid photo (or is it a painting?) led me on into thinking it was to be in that bright, colorful mood, but the picture belied the underlying sense of magnificent gloom in your haunting description of the progress of the seasons. Your words flirt like the leaves with the color, but lose little time in getting to the dying.

      Your poetry is incredible for expressing it with the gestation and anticipation, the birth, all-too-brief life, fading and lingering death portraying by the seasons' movements year after year. - Your words are like a satellite view of what's happening below on Earth. I'm seeing the scenes through your eyes so clearly, making me more aware of basic difference in outlook perspectives afforded by our different locations! Our average first frost date here is Nov. 25th, just in time for Thanksgiving and bringing a welcome change! Our average last frost is March 3rd, after perhaps a snow or two lasting from a day to a couple of weeks during our 3-month 'winter' with its slight inconveniences. Meanwhile, you're already experiencing light frost! Your season's duration will be nearly double ours. Wow.

      Ah, but I well remember the interminably long wearisome winters in Indiana, starting so early and lingering so late. The colors of fall more glorious up there, but its white and gray barren winter seemed never to end. One could almost forget what it was like to bask in lively freshness and warmth outside, which began to seem like a distant pipe-dream. So it's a trade-off I am happy to avoid. There's just enough winter here, though excessive summer, at least in intensity. sigh. - I confess - I like MILD! If there must be an extreme, though, I think I prefer it to be warmth.

      All the preceding comments about this poem ring true. I can say that I'm awed by its perfection and that I like it - the way I like anguish when I know it's not forever; but still, I cringe thinking it'll seem nearer forever for my friend.

      It's a genre worth developing, though, and you excel in it. I hope you do it again! I'm thinking that it's not only good literature, but possibly good processing of inner rumblings, - or could be if there were any.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Thank you for stopping by and reading Darrylmdavis and I appreciate the comment.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hello lambservant! It is so nice to hear from you. Thank you for the kind comment. I hope that you are well!

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Hello Vincent. Thank you for your praise my fellow poet. I hope things are well with you. It has been good to see you writing this week.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Thank you Jim! Your visits always affirm my work and from one who I admire so, It embellishes the day.

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Thank you whonunuwho! I am humbled by your praise. So gracious a comment begs me search your work. I will make it such a point.

    • Darrylmdavis profile image

      Darrylmdavis 5 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

      A very enjoyable piece. :-)

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      That was just plain beautiful. Your words and images are so creative. Nice job.

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 5 years ago

      Alan your words weave magic with the birth and death of a season. You are a poet for all seasons with your excellent use of metaphors within. Mother nature in all her glory is exposed by your truths and keen observations. You took me on a journey and I saw the many colors on your palette. Your brush gave us all hope for yet another season to unfold with each stroke of your magnificent mind. This piece is masterful and will be read by many and shared. I felt the power of your pen and the force of nature unfold under it. Peace and blessings I send this day to you my poet. Voted all the way UP and shared.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 5 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Alan, this is a beautiful poem. Its language brings Frost to mind and your metaphor is excellent. Seeing the light change the way it has lately, the chill in the mornings Fall is upon us.

      No frost on this side of the Cascades yet, though I heard there was some over on your side. Glad to see your writing here this morning.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 5 years ago from United States

      Such beauty in your words and so descriptive in the use of metaphors and verse that creates the mood of the seasons. One of the finest works that I have ever read on these pages and anywhere. Thank you for sharing this poetry of such splendor.

    • penofone profile image

      Anish Patel 5 years ago

      Nice hub if you dont believe...




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