RAM KRISHNA SINGH

Collects all of my published poetry books. Also provides an uptodate view of my poetry, especially haiku and tanka.

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Ram Krishna Singh is a university professor whose main fields of interest consist of Indian English writing, especially poetry, and English for Specific Purposes, especially for science and technology. He was born on 31 December 1950 in Varanasi, India. Apart from a BA earned in 1970, he gained his MA in English Literature from Banaras Hindu University in 1972 and Ph D from Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi, in 1981. He also obtained a Diploma in Russian in 1972. Dr Singh started his career in journalism, as a Compilation Officer in the District Gazetteers Department, Lucknow, 1973, and a Journalist with the Press Trust of India, New Delhi, 1973-74. Changing to teaching he became a Lecturer at the Royal Bhutan Polytechnic, Deothang, Bhutan, 1974-76. Joining the Indian School of Mines in Dhanbad as a Lecturer from 1976-83, he then rose to Assistant Professor in 1983 and full  Professor and Head of the Institute’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences since 1993 to 2011. He is now Professor of English (HAG).

A reviewer, critic and contemporary poet who writes in Indian English, Dr. Singh is the author of more than 160 research articles and 175 book reviews. He has published 39 books, including:  Savitri : A Spiritual Epic (Criticism, 1984); My Silence (poems, 1985); Sound and Silence (edited articles on Krishna Srinivas, 1986); Indian English Writing : 1981-1985 : Experiments with Expression (ed., 1987, rept. 1991); Using English in Science and Technology (textbook, 1988, rev. and rept, 2000); Recent Indian English Poets : Expressions and Beliefs (ed. 1992); Two Poets: R.K. Singh (I DO NOT QUESTION) Ujjal Singh Bahri (THE GRAMMAR OF MY LIFE) (poems, 1994); General English Practice (textbook, 1995); Anger in Action : Explorations of Anger in Indian Writing in English (ed.,1997); My Silence and Other Selected Poems : 1974-1994 (poems, 1996); Above the Earth’s Green (poems, 1997); Psychic Knot : Search for Tolerance in Indian English Fiction (ed., 1998); New Zealand Literature : Some Recent Trends (ed.,1998); Every Stone Drop Pebble (haiku, 1999); Multiple-Choice General English for UPSC Competitive Exams (textbook, 2001); Cover to Cover (poems, 2002). Pacem in Terris ( haiku, English and Italian, 2003), Communication : Grammar and Composition ( textbook, 2003), Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri : Essays on Love, Life and Death ( Critical articles, 2005), Teaching English for Specific Purposes : An Evolving Experience ( Research articles and review essays, 2005), Voices of the Present: Critical Essays on Some Indian English Poets (2006), The River Returns (tanka and haiku collection, 2006), English as a Second Language: Experience into Essays (ed. research articles, 2007), English Language Teaching: Some Aspects Recollected (ed. research articles, 2008), Sexless Solitude and Other Poems (2009), Mechanics of Research Writing (2010), Sense and Silence: Collected Poems (2010),  New and Selected Poems Tanka and Haiku (2012), and I Am No Jesus and Other Selected Poems, Tanka and Haiku (2014). His works have been anthologized in about 160 publications, while his editorial activities extend to include guest-editing of Language Forum, 1986, 1995, and Creative Forum, 1991, 1997, 1998, besides being co-editor of the latter publication from 1987-90, General Editor of Creative Forum New Poets Series, and service on the editorial boards of Canopy, Indian Book Chronicle, Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Reflections, Titiksha, International Journal of Translation, Poetcrit, Impressions of Eternity (ie), and SlugFest. He has evaluated about 50 PhD theses from various universities. He has also edited the ISM Newsletter for about five years.

Monday, October 09, 2006

ABOVE THE EARTH'S GREEN : a short epic

1

Poetry is prayer

in life’s vicissitude:

a saving grace against

manipulated or

unmanifested odds

overwhelming without

warrant or patterning

2

I do not write the sun, storm or sea

but re-create myself and others

in verses turn time and pluck some stars

to find my way through masked trenches

witness to my sinking into mud

that curves the memories into bias

disgrace dust, sky, wind, and all relations

window of emotions I must chain

to breathe a pure breath without passion

and discover essence of beauty

spring a move towards self harmony

perfection and peace, prelude to nude

enlightenment to carve life in full

3

The faces appearing

and receding in

dark of closed eyes

don’t answer why

they aren’t winged souls

fading in the sun

I emptied before it set

in the gowns of girls

stopped from dancing barefoot:

they shake autumn in the rain

mist blurs the image

water spills in shady pool

4

I know waves that roar

I live through silence of shore:

The sea grows in me

5

The sun couldn’t help

nor fish protect:

river has no sex

so it dried up

trapped in its own banks

6

This chilly night

she folds her arms and legs

resting her head

upon the knees and sits

as an island

7

Ghosts rise to mate

in moonlight tear the tombs

frighten with fingers

rhino horns rock the centre

granite sensation

8

Shadows

spring from night

whispering darkness

fog the streetlight

and I walk

alone

against wind

unseen and unheard

glide

into dreams

create circles

of longings

or spin wheels

of miracles

with blind faith

drug genes and

drone out psalms

in void

9

He flashed a faint smile

holding pen between fingers:

God dropped in his mind

enlarging moments

of happiness into life

10

I know a fire burns

the thumb-sized flame

beyond the heart

restlessly I seek

light in shadow

forget the sun

I feel its heat

and see the light

by light itself

11

In the mirror strange eyes

meet mine as if

probing the progress

of my wrinkling heart:

I don’t know how to bear

wounds of curiosity

12

Her wet lingerie reveals

more than her body

I drown in her sea

13

Seeking fire in the

furnace of delight I fail

to weld my fragments

into one lasting love:

I act delusive orgasm

to get out of myself

tear dreams in holes

live bit by bit, in pieces

restive as ever

14

The games I couldn’t play

the adversaries I made

unliving the sun

in field undoing

the dense air with spray

prove I’m obsolete

in a land of scams

God seems irrelevant and

altruism is preposterous

kind of naivety

or doubletalk they think right

poets are good but foolish

15

I’m dying to connect

myself to your navel love

and feel your heart beat

inside your breast space

cared by blood at your altar

sip life in your flame

16

You were so near yet

I couldn’t reach your body:

half-risen sun

I couldn’t rise to embrace

half-met eyes

half-said prayer

17

As I repose

in the wrinkles

of her face

I feel her crimson

glow in my eyes

her holy scent

grows inside

a sea of peace

multiplies

in the mind

18

When I have no home

I seek refuge in the cage

of your heart and close

my eyes to see with your nipples

the tree that cared to save from sun

19

The eruptions and scars remind

how weak we are

fighting ourselves we fight others

disrupt balance

O mother, I fear diseases

born from within

20

We came together to make love

against the wall promise

harvest for no one

21

Will you marry my soul?

or lend me your body?

I’ve used it to the core

the raiment is tattered now

even ghosts despise it

22

After the night’s rumblings

prayers add wings to breezes

morning’s serene calmness

23

Again the stone-cool city

frightens the oval existence

downward in black moment

swamps of labour will vanish

in fume I see no prayers:

who can hope to dial new angels

when most have turned Cubist cock

rivaling small spooks underground

tempting vulgar feats with awnings?

24

The darkening clouds

and shapes of jungle animals

won’t disappear with rains

but stay in my eyes

with icy nights waving tails

in dreams or blazing time

the whimpering sun

with diamond tides won’t burn the sea

nor obscure miracles

round evening when tired

of sand trapped between toes

I prick the vacuum in soul

I can see through strange tales

winds spin across chessboard

whether playing or watching:

myths of victory weigh heavy

it’s better I keep quiet

lest the earth mourn poet’s truth

25

I don’t understand

why dogs defecate at our

gate, lawn and backyard

I don’t understand

their gossip denouncing me

in corner meetings

it’s no use throwing

stones or chasing them away

they love smell of earth

the bitches’ bottom

in season sexcites, they can’t

control their passion

they are uneasy

in our presence but leave filth

for others to clean

let’s ignore them

they’re dogs and detractors

defecating, barking

at the gate, backyard

street corners they have it off

to ease their tension

26

They use my open door

for their invectives

against me:

I keep no accounts

and no bars

27

In the name of faith

and God

politics fuels bigotry

strips the prophets

corrupts clarity

reasoning ceases

when mind purveys prejudice:

age shuts the door

everybody paves

his own way to the grave

28

For Yitzak Rabin

Duped by the voice of God

and curse of the Rabbi

Amir is satisfied

he killed Rabin with three

lashes of fire for courting

peace with PLO

ignoring the Torah

and compromising Israel’s

honour all over the world

lovers of peace did you hear

“ It hurts, but it’s O.K.”

< PULSA DENURA >

29

Politics is based

neither on knowledge

nor principles but scams

irresponsible

power for free money

hawala, gawala and

loots to strip democracy

voters’ faith for five years

connive with criminals

raring to patronize

rival systems from within

blur reality with

majority or

minority views

cook facts for convenience

accommodate strange

bedfellows to bamboozle

honest authorities

introduce God and godmen

make religious appeals

pursue hypocrisy

in the name of the common man

serve vested interests

and cry if CBI

nabs or lodges them

in Tihar or blasts

their structures of influence

how tragic now they

whimper mosquitoes bite

and villains threaten

30

They demolish huts

for encroaching on pavements

but God stands smiling

the criminal dies

and his followers extort

sums for Samadhi

raise puja pandal

after Lotus temple deck

Durga and Mandal

encroach on public land

without murmur politics

plays its own logic:

who can protest when

wolves mate bitches to create

a democratic race?

31

Weaving lies and hopes

he exposes his skill

with riddles only

fools himself and prides

in snares of deceits

buries his own peace

32

It’s the same old smell

the same old colours I see

in the corridors

of my mind the monotony

of a museum now

I must open the doors and

let in new images

before wandering apparitions

clog the lone passage

with hidden dust and make life hell

33

How much I cared for tomorrow

saving suffering spoiling today

cursing the sky and wrinkles that

remind how the rains have hollowed

my dreams this morning a-sneezing

I fear again I can’t rejoice

the flash of rainbow caress sleep

flowers, butterflies or glow-worms

monsoon dampens walls and spirit

without reprieve it drips from cracks

life’s helplessness prolongs lies in

foppish designs and burnished wings

34

The disorder in my inner world betrays the tension outside:

the anger over fanaticism and loss of ideals, politics and corruption

the degeneration all-around and struggle for survival amidst lying and conniving

and these burdens, death of desires, drugs, orgies, promiscuities

the piggish chaos oozing from the system like an ancient wound

I can’t suffer the crises I haven’t authored even in thought

I can’t endure aches of incompletion, dark void that sounds aloud

in my sleep I can’t see my innocence afflicted by mirror

eating into my soul, ingesting my own body for something

there is neither consolation nor forgiveness, but negation

I’m belittled as man, degraded constantly in fire of inner effigies

or is everyone demeaning with intimate doubts and mutual mockery?

35

The non-revolting bitterness

cross-legs with mute whispers

chokes sensibility

academic frauds breed culture

with erect greed meanness

sweeps bigness with granite

head jeer past wonders and treasures

in sand sink shamelessly

weave new apology

36

Where education leads to submissiveness, not self-respect

where knowledge and acceptance depend on certificates

where push-out is called drop-out

where repression breeds fear, powerlessness, alienation and marginalization

where dependency, not self-sufficiency, perpetuates with helplessness

where discontentment is the way of life and dignity is decried

where the system blames the victims to preserve status quo

and the stream of reason is lost in narrow divisions

into that ever-widening hell of majority and minority

O my God,

-- let my country not sink in the new century

(with apology to Rabindranath Tagore)

37

His talk

farting of horse

galloping, leaving track

of every thought and strategy

behind

38

Poetry is pain

for disguise to lift the veil

in this place nothing

can grow no root gets water

eyes only unsee

long weeds I tried to uproot

rage, violence, anguish

restlessness mitigated

with fellow-poets

reflect madness in outside

but nothing changes

maybe nothing will change yet

we dream in silence

willing new poems of pain

or pleasures concealed

39

I stayed at the ghats

so many years couldn’t see

sun’s calligraphy

shining on the river’s breast

now choked with city’s garbage

40

Environmentalists’ nude

protest over ” US talks

US profits”

camouflage love:

food for eyes like good weed they

collapse on body’s delta

41

He is a solo drum

trying to get his rhythm

against the sputtering rains

the mud sticks on trousers

wet and cool it can’t sleep

in the thorns of our yard

I seek my balance in

yoga-nidra in the closed

room think his thoughts and lies

we weave to ensnare spirit

that pricks the balloon we pump

to rise above the earth’s green

42

Caught between flattery of politics

and democracy of opposition

he turns a militant and kills

both left and right

43

Death is the same in every creed

like colour of blood in the living

or dying, though it’s only the living

that call death or blood Hindu or

Muslim, engineer disharmony

set history on fire and corrupt

memory with ashes of time

raising new slogans for Babri

and Ramjanmabhoomi in Ayodhya

the cracked riverbed will unlive

winded metaphors of distrust

and reveal how man has cheated man

trying to hang wraiths of primal word

44

Staring in the midnight blank

I hear the lungs’ whisperings

that conspire with secret draughts:

August’s damp eyes gaze down

the walls that clamp breathing

on bended knees I wonder

if each day must be wintered

for the sin of surviving

45

‘Amidst so much grief

and helplessness love is God’s

grace to hope and live’.

‘Alright, I can forget

gaudy icons, pervert godheads

and crudities in hills

even suffer rebirth

if you can ensure

a decent death’.

46

I am a stranger

to things so familiar:

the city stares at

my identity and asks

why the sun rose through

enamel stripping traffic

while dusty pavements

croon new tunes against shadows

orchestrating fears

cries and griefs few bother for

convenience stay

unredeeming or

unredeemable?

I am no heir

to their kindness

nor can live their faith

through cracks skillfully made

for immortality

they may know me well

when the sky clears

after the rains

47

Pseudos, shams, crooks and

politicians pervert:

empowered by their

own corruption swing

hard to keep the ball in play:

impact gives out clue

sometimes sweep the ground

and sometimes get swept with scams

CBI unearths:

their head moves ahead

unreal their rhetoric

pull up if you can

48

It rained the whole night

current went off this morning

sky is clear again

it’s hot and humid

without water tensions rise

there is no release

49

Accursed I stay

awake counting minutes

hours nights and days

breathing pollutants in

bed courtyard rooms

none care for my nightmarish

remembrance of

doctor devil and god

alone I suffer sins

I didn’t commit

now unembraced she turns

her back pressing

pillow between the thighs

curls no apology

50

In my sleeplessness

I fear the dark killing dreams

and burying hours

I couldn’t save for tomorrow:

gloom glitters with sun

51

Let’s know

dirty water

kills everyone no need

to blame only her if he too

is wrong

52

Age shakes confidence

in sex he wonders is urge

to penetrate all

or undoing of

single man in aloneness

unmask tyranny

53

The menopausal man

doesn’t know whether

it is love or

pressure of the groin

he preaches

heteropromiscuity

searching for frolic

as another shield

54

I saw her off and

smelled a snake before it raised

its head in the green

shut the iron gate

in rainy darkness moments

hissed end of summer

55

The eyes fix on her curves

limb by limb mistily

silently yet savagely

perhaps undressing in mind

measuring her depths and

secret love standing up

with stressed nipples calling

to unhook the blouse, her skirt

and feel the wild magic

a woman is more unsafe

with man than dog in the street

56

Vision

to understand

the final whole of un-

discovered specifics before

making

shaping

true reality

hidden in outer world

intricately patterned like

body

57

Woman

is the measure

of all things: body, truth

love, spirit, God, society, peace

and man

after

circumcision

ritual of sex with

two to four women tradition

offers

new risks

in Timor or

Egypt where religious

rites circumcise woman denying

love joy

freedom

to discuss sex

is basic to prevent

promiscuous violence against

women

let’s see

ourselves in them

linking our happiness

to theirs cease dehumanizing

God’s gift

58

Her dream-cervix opens

in pain slowly expands;

a red poem

59

It needs less than a drop to procreate

but months and years of readiness to enjoy

sex sustains both life and art

60

A woman

in poet’s vision

howsoever strange

is ever new:

pierce like diamond

or thread like pearl

to weld in her depth

her nudity

I love for

all her mystery

perfect poetry

beyond the sky

61

Last night I woke up

to respond to the door bell

murmuring God’s name

when I unbolted

found none but a passing soul

stopped for a moment

on it’s knees peeking

into its own clasped heads

gazing white silence

62

Except the naked

no one talks about cold wind

whisper through window

skin-to-skin with chill echoes

burial in icy bed

63

It’s fun

to fill the pockets with sand

and sit on waves for a while

watch the grains dancing

in delight as it empties

drifting body-mind current

in pure acceptance

celebrating triumph

at crest

64

Trapped in hope, O God

how unhappy we remain

for a little happiness

from the Cross we seek

joys of living in fear

dusk winds up last rays

65

Sin is soluble

in poetry and craft melts

ice cream cone or bone

white in sun sweet risk

refreshing senses tingling

reign raging passion

66

Life’s comic spring

would have turned tragic

but for the grace of

love and poesy

67

The sudden chill

and the heat inside

how to keep silence?

she can feel my fever

I know nothing of seasons:

when the light goes off

blue shadows dance

feel dumb ache and

stale smell of vests

I hear the wind sour

once again viral

infections nudge August

bring in uncertainties

68

Living by forgetting

has kept me from asylum

all these years burdensome

memories buried

in time I kept feeding on

bodies lit with love

forgotten lyrics

I wrote mysticalities

created to conceal

my follies including

acts of lust in the morning

or seeing off guests

I never invited

now under no pressure

to know what happens around

I feel free and enjoy

their music of villainies

and taunts uttered to mourn

my rise they couldn’t check:

I forget curses, my gains

lost in wind of time

69

He watches a film

on prohibition opening

a fresh bottle and

smiles at his wife’s threat

to smash the bottle

like the Nellore activists

protesting against

arrack sales and auctions

quietly I switch off

gobble the drink and retire

70

The naked tree

seems to sway

in hope of

green waves

spring promises

here am I

prostituting smile

in mirror

despite change

in season’s eye

71

I remain

so restless in rest

mind ceases to think

eyes lose sleep

and dreams disappear

I remain

unaware of my worth

losing confidence I see

quiet death of my urges

my elements shaken

in the vacuum of silences

my senses mock at the muck

I’ve piled up all these years

now fear

the walls are crumbling

I wish to escape

the chain that clothes

the freedom of love

and privacy without shame

let me feast in naked earth

72

Each one has his eyes

on the trunk snapped in storm now

lying on quiet onion beds

seeks the bark for medicine

or wants me to gift

the log for furniture while

one tells me the price

of sesame and flatters how

lucky I am to

have so many trees

in the compound they bruit how

I hide the wood to season

73

The earth is tonsured

and the rains stopped paving way

for the hay fever

once again the grass

will witness history in red

blue white and yellow

across the road dusts

rise and spin new allergies:

spiders in the throat

74

Nobody hears

the vacuum

mourning peace:

echo haunts my soul

like leafless trees

raising grief

to sick air

75

Each time I am stuck

doing or thinking something

not knowing what to do next

or losing trust in the self

my own notions, my world view

I look for someone to talk things over

or sit still for hours or minutes

turn pages of a book to get

the right idea, the rare insight

fume, fumble, fail, and do autopsy

decode messages on corpse of ideas

and lo! the world changes in a second

76

To rain is natural

but their silence

to leaking roofs

and non-supply of light

is unnatural like

my aching limbs

and sneezes when

it’s romantic outside

age fails or love

is scarce these days

to image emptiness

as truth in verse

is wasting words

abusing vision for

concealment of

sun and wind that

couldn’t be part of system

77

Philosophy frightens me

confounds obscurity

with profundity:

asking north of the North Pole

or time before big bang

is absurd to me

I don’t reflect time and space

or probe metaphysics

to construct Everest

I love to climb the peak and

search the best route without

high minded debate

that affronts simplicity

symmetry, nudity

a poet’s beauty

78

The mind is put off

before the act blood lets down

it’s end before beginning

how can touch be erotic

with ‘cold copulars’

in drunken gibberish?

they all chant their own

equations through grooves of night

trick weeds of ideas

life’s strange relation:

words belong to all

but deeds to a few

79

So ordinary

has become my living

sudden with complaints

depressing challenges

and death of desires

shaping dream-images

once when moon or sex

caused no allergy and

breathing was deep

my mind and eyes display

blankness as I wait

sleepless again tonight

in this room spinning

webs of non-consciousness

praying, suffering and

forgetting with new sun

80

They all want car, furniture

decoration pieces

latest fashion designs

jewellery and plenty

of money to self-express

misplaced priorities

evoke new tensions in

mid age I converse with

the ceiling off my chump

who bothers about love or prayers

81

It’s not that I can’t afford

a few rupees on rickshaw

or buy a car or scooter

but I want to remain glued

to the earth, to dust, with my weight

I walk alone: the grocery

or vegetable slinging

over my shoulder, as it did

forty years ago I think

I can still walk distances

without shame, sweat with dignity

let all that say aha now

know I’m different from them all

let them be measured by

the money they stash between

their legs or dreams they stretch

I’d love to be weighed by my acts

my labour that hurt none

and tomorrow when I’ll be

too old to stand alone or

walk by myself I’ll recall

I had my feet rooted in earth

and known them all who offered

their hands without heart:

they needn’t curse if no one

bothered them after the fall

82

I’m true in my element

begotten of earth

hungry to mate with sky:

seek me in song of songs

in kisses that he and she

rehearse on way to bed

the voluptuous squeezes

fulfillment of godly

and bodily promises

83

Cloaked in chill

gracious corona

winked at earth

I saw a spark on

my finger she turned

diamond ring

84

Drugs don’t diagnose so

let’s kiss our sneezes

into each other and stop

worrying about repression

necessary or surplus

85

There is a bay in

each of us depression mounts

to cause hurricane

crumbling caged life and

its traps submerged in rising

water and wind pipes

pressure in silence

unweave years of network

roots of upturned faces

86

He laughs at the lone star

gazing his tail upward

from the potato pit:

I thought the dews were tears

fallen before mourning

87

Falling leaves like hair

from my head and chest don’t hide

strains of memory

shrinking, melting flesh

swelling voids efflux ageing

earliness missing

88

When she stretches her legs for me

to shave the pubic hair we hit

the hay together remembering

the first night I gave her nothing

in my hurry to see her nude

89

She props the stooping lemons

with stake but avoids

bending close to me:

I die to draw the blossom

in my twining arms

but she likes the other scent

90

Stones carved to dance and

music come alive figures

ever sensuous

pride in what we hide

our cultural memory

they excelled revealing

91

I seek in sex

freedom of nature

metaphor of veils

that hide body

spirit as two

and celebrate

pristine purity

of Prakriti

reach ecstasy

92

After a hurried

love making we drift to sleep:

our backs to each other

93

It still lingers like

the taste of stale love last night:

man and mask one

94

Willow summer-sways

its bough half-rests on the pole

light goes off again

95

Reshuffling the shelves

it’s only dust, in alleys

sneezing scholarship

96

The rains leave soils soft

the seeds sprout with the first sun

I love pearly dews

97

She hides the mirror

with rose and lipstick

and keeps her fiction

98

Trucks on G.T. Road:

invasion of the body

for a quick release

99

She’s still rolling but

yield is poor I can’t invest:

her low love sensex

100

A clean compound

morning to afternoon

playground parroty sound

101

With changing weather

they look for sun and shade both:

chameleon tune

102

He survives in bones

brittle like hers in forties

it’s winter again

103

Roots are infected

no water can green balsam

the pot is flower’s grave

104

Stealthy invaders

chill surge of river and dreams:

the year waves goodbye

105

It will be New Year

after a few breaths new hopes

burial of dreams

seen or unseen seconds go

sour and uncelebrated

106

I need no colour to put on

nor to dip my pen in gold

I don’t ride on wind to reach the top

nor like to scrawl failing forms

I love rebel rays coming in

shatter narrow illusions

moon is the poem in sky

silence sounds in brevity

107

Inconveniences mount

so high I can’t surmount

sit static over wishes

without strength pose I’m strong

sthitprajna and wait for more

opportune time to move

108

I am my own proof:

I don’t need my neighbour’s wings

to vindicate my flight

109

Silence is

mantra in action

beginning

divinity’s descent

and change in

inner being

enkindling

love hope and faith

_________________________________________________________________

Copyright: R.K.Singh. This collection of poems first appeared as ABOVE THE EARTH'S GREEN from Writers Workshop, Kolkata in 1997.

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