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Poems From the Porch 33

John is a freelance writer, ghost-writer, storyteller, and poet. He always tries to include a message or social commentary in his writing

Making the Most of a Bad Situation

Welcome to the porch once more. Let me apologise for not having an article ready to publish last week but I have been a busy bee over the last couple of months, first in the garden, and then renovating the garage into a “she-shed” or studio for my wife, and rearranging the house. And all that in between writing projects.

We don’t tend to go out a lot, but have been really taking advantage of any extra time at home to complete these long-awaited renovations.

I feel guilty, with so many businesses being closed and people losing their jobs, and here I am with so much work I can barely keep up with it all. A tough time in almost every way, but a boon, it seems, for a freelance writer.

I had previously said that I was trying to avoid writing or reading too many articles about the Coronavirus but if the poems requested relate to it then I don’t have much choice. This week is one of those times. I hope you enjoy this collection anyway.

Eric Dierker

”John it is so cool. I want more! How about one on how you raised your children. Foibles and triumphs, though those impostors are much the same.”

Eric, being a parent is a wild ride. I wouldn’t give up being a father for anything but it’s impossible to do it justice in just one poem. Anyway, I did my best. I hope you like it.

Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil.

— Walt Disney

How I Raised My Children

First prepare the fertile soil

Then plant the healthy seeds,

Feed and water every day,

Provide for all their needs.

Nurture and watch over them,

Protect them when you can,

Hoping they grow strong and tall

Into fine women and men.

Scroll to Continue

Parenthood's not easy,

It's a trial and error thing.

You'll make mistakes along the way,

Learn the lessons that they bring.

To be a father they'd respect,

That always was my plan.

To instil love and compassion,

How to help their fellow man.

One daughter and three sons I have,

And proud of all am I.

Each one successful in their field,

And not afraid to try.

Though none of them were perfect,

And their father’s not as well.

We had our trials and troubles,

That just gives us tales to tell.

Now all have families of their own,

And I see how they teach

The lessons I once taught to them,

In action and in speech.

My eldest son's bush wedding (all the family gathered)

My eldest son's bush wedding (all the family gathered)

Mel Carrier

”You guys down there have really been hit hard these last few months. First the fires, now this. From the fire into the frying pan, I guess you could say. Hey, there's a title of a poem!”

You are right Mel, we Aussies seem to have been through one disaster followed by another. The virus has been worse elsewhere but we didn’t escape it.

During bad circumstances, which is the human inheritance, you must decide not to be reduced. You have your humanity, and you must not allow anything to reduce that. We are obliged to know we are global citizens. Disasters remind us we are world citizens, whether we like it or not.

— Maya Angelou

From the Fire Into the Frying Pan

There is a saying that is known quite well,

"From the frying pan into the fire," they tell.

But this last twelve months haven't gone to plan,

It's more from the fire into the frying pan.

Last year we had months of endless drought,

But that was only the very first bout.

Then came the fires that raged out of control,

Ravaged the land in a terrible toll.

Australia's the driest country on Earth,

Also my home and the place of my birth.

The people and wildlife bore nature's wrath

As raging bushfires wiped out all in their path.

Finally rains came and it had to be fate,

Drenching the fires, but for many too late.

Lives had been lost, homes and cattle destroyed,

Rain was most welcome, but could not be enjoyed.

Then even before the displaced could resettle,

More boiling water was poured from the kettle.

The world was attacked by a terror unseen,

That came to be known as Covid-19.

This was the straw that could break camels’ backs,

But fortitude's something Australians don't lack.

It's lucky our country's removed from the rest,

Sometimes remoteness turns out for the best.

Self-isolation, our borders were locked,

Thousands lost jobs, the economy rocked.

Planes were all grounded, cruise ships turned away.

How long would this last? No one could say.

If not for one cruise ship I'm reluctant to name

We may have escaped this pandemic game.

That wasn't to be so we suffered as well,

The worst may have passed, but only time tells.

So, my dear friends I am sure you can see

The reason some say, "Why did God forsake me?"

This sunburnt country, the land of extremes

Sometimes offers nightmares, instead of sweet dreams.

Were known for our beaches and barren outback,

Our laid-back demeanour, and giving it a crack.

If returning the balance is nature's plan

I'll jump from the fire into the frying pan.

Out of the Frying Pan: Image by Cari Dobbins from Pixabay

Out of the Frying Pan: Image by Cari Dobbins from Pixabay

Lawrence Hebb

”Here's one for a poem, what are you most looking forward to after the lockdown lifts?”

Thanks Lawrence. The lockdown is already being eased here. I understand that New Zealand has even declared itself “coronavirus free.” That is an outstanding achievement also.

As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.

— Joseph B Wirthlin

When the Lockdown Lifts

What do I look forward to

when the lockdown lifts?

When we're free to travel

I'll go on weekend trips.

I'll visit friends and family,

grandchild I haven't seen,

born during this pandemic-

the dreaded Covid-19.

I'll patronise restaurants

but my distance still keep.

I won't risk infection,

or be one of the sheep.

When the lockdown finally lifts

I will appreciate much more

all the things I took for granted,

and always did before.

I'll make the most of every day,

just stop feeling down,

say, "I love you," more and more,

and enjoy the world around.

I still won't travel overseas

but I'll see more sights at home,

driving where I want to go,

just my family on our own.

The Bus, Mt Isa, Queensland, Australia

The Bus, Mt Isa, Queensland, Australia

Ann Carr

”How about one based on just one flower head, like a massive dark red peony or a small forget-me-not? Roses are often the subject of poetry but it would be good to have something different.”

Thank you for the suggestion Ann. I have written a poem about a single flower head, though the flower I chose is probably only second to the rose in popularity, as far as poetry is concerned.

If roses tried to be sunflowers, they would lose their beauty; and if sunflowers tried to be roses, they would lose their strength.

— Matshona Dhliwayo

The Sunflower

The sunflower turns her golden head

To face the rising sun.

Its path she follows through the day

Until the night-time comes.

When darkness sets, she hangs her head

As though she needs to sleep.

But as a new day starts to dawn

She lifts her head, and peeks.

Sunflower: Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Sunflower: Image by Couleur from Pixabay

And the Poetry Keeps Flowing

That's it for another edition of Poems From the Porch, but there will be more to come. I still have enough requests for three or four more anthologies, and you know the drum by now - if you have an idea for a poem you'd like to see written, just let me know in comments or email me and I will add it to my list. Gotta keep the poems flowing.

Next week there should be poems requested by: Ruby Jean Richert, Bill Holland, Venkatachari M, and Eric Dierker. Hope to see you all back here then. Oh, and thanks for reading this collection.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 21, 2021:

Hi Gilbert, thank you for visiting this collection. Yes, I think Walt Disney’s quote is displayed in a lot of his work. I hope things improve where you are soon, but as you say being stuck at home is better than being dead.

Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on January 21, 2021:

Very nice job with those poems, John. I feel like I'm under house arrest, myself, but it's better than being dead. Interesting quote from Walt Disney; that explained Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Great variety of poems.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 21, 2020:

Glad you are happy wit( the poem, Lawrence. NZ is a positive example for the rest of 5he world. Unfortunately Victoria is experiencing a spike in Covid 19 cases and NSW has increases also. So far, touch wood, Queensland has been free of new cases.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 21, 2020:


Thanks for the poem, it was great reading.

Yes, NZ is classed as Covid free. We are still getting people arriving at the border (Kiwis returning home) who have the virus, but the quarantine is working and so far they have all been caught by the quarantine measures.



John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 24, 2020:

It is never too late, Ann. I am glad you like sunflowers and that this brought back memories of France. I appreciate your comment. Have a great day.

Ann Carr from SW England on June 24, 2020:

Sorry I'm very late to this, John, and thank you for writing a poem about a flower. I love sunflowers and you've written a no-nonsense poem which suits its character. A whole field of these never fails to raise a smile. There are loads in France, so it also reminded me of our travels there and our French friends who welcome us.

All great poems. You never disappoint and your imagination knows no bounds!


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 18, 2020:

Thank you Jason. I always enjoy your comments and it is a great incentive to keep writing when others show what you do is appreciated. Thanks as always.

Jason Nicolosi from AZ on June 18, 2020:

Hi John no one can blame you for being enthusiastic about getting work done. I've been taking advantage of all the extra time too. Although I feel like there is never enough time in the day. I have so much to do and so little time to do it in. It sure goes by darn quick. It's is mind-boggling really, haha.

I very much enjoyed all the poems. However, one line really stuck with me from the poem:

When the Lockdown Lifts -

"I will appreciate much more

all the things I took for granted".

Once this coronavirus is finally over, I'm sure many of us will appreciate things we took for granted. I know I certainly will. There are so many things I miss doing.

Also, The Sunflower poem was delightful. A really pleasant read.

Overall beautiful work on all the poems.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 17, 2020:

Chitrangada, your comments are always most welcome. Thank you for reading and enjoying these poems.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 17, 2020:

Wonderful collection of poems from your porch.

I enjoyed reading all of them. You have a wonderful family and I can relate to your poem, regarding raising the children.

The sunflower is as beautiful as your well crafted poem.

Thanks for sharing another interesting one in the series.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 16, 2020:

Hi Brenda, thanks for reading. We have to look for the positives during this time. Sorry the planned vacation has hit a snag due to travel restrictions but it does give you an excuse to check out your own state more closely and I am sure it will be worth it. People usually miss out on ever seeing the interesting sites closest to home. Take care.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 16, 2020:


Your poetry as usual has touched my heart.

Taking this time to get a few things accomplished is a great thing...especially since you can enjoy this time together.

When the virus lifts we were hoping to enjoy so much.

I have been able to enjoy a few times of fine dining.

But we are planning a vacation whuch gas met a snag...the virus is starting to rear it's head back up.

So for's gonna be exploring my home state.

Who knows...maybe I will find some interesting things.

God surely has a reason for me to stay here, so I will go with the flow and enjoy.

Take care. Enjoy this time.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 15, 2020:

Thank you Nithya. Yes, every parent should be issued with an instruction manual. The problem is all children are different. Have a great week.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 15, 2020:

Beautiful! I enjoyed reading all the poems. I can relate with "How I Raised My Children"-being a parent is not easy. They are not born with instructions to follow! The "Sunflower" is lovely true to its nature.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 15, 2020:

Hello Rasma. Thank you for reading. I am sure your garden in Latvia must have been beautiful. Sunflowers are uplifting.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on June 15, 2020:

I enjoyed them all and Sunflower brought me back to my garden in Latvia. I hope you have an inspirational new week.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 15, 2020:

It is always nice to be missed, Greg. Yes, being busy and seeing positive results for the effort makes you hunger to do more. Even if you mind and body gets a workout - and that must actually be good long term. Sorry you haven’t been able to see your new grandson yet either. I hope you can see him soon. My granddaughter was born 28th April. We should be able to see her next month now that restrictions are easing. “Men at Work” and vegemite go hand in hand- “I just smiled and gave him a vegemite sandwich.” It is a staple in most Aussie always have to have a jar in the pantry. I will certainly do a poem about them. Thanks for the prompt.

greg cain from Moscow, Idaho, USA on June 15, 2020:

John - missed you last week but happy for the cause—you being and staying busy is good news for you. I love the family vibe here, and feel a kindred bit due to not seeing my grandson yet, as he was born late Feb amid the opening volley of Covid-19. These are all great, but I like the family one most for lots of reasons.

When there’s room on the slate, I’d really love to hear your take on Men at Work. They did a lot in the 80s to put a perception of Oz on the map. Maybe you could tell us about Vegemite whole you’re at it...I should have tried it when I was in Melbourne years ago, but alas I did not.

Great edition of the Porch Works, John.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 15, 2020:

Thank you Linda, The she shed has been hard work but I am actually happy with how it has turned out. Glad you liked the poem about bringing up my children and the family photo.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on June 15, 2020:

A she shed? I can't imagine--what a loving thing to do. My favorite today is your poem for Eric. Sweet sentiments, and you have a beautiful family.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 15, 2020:

Thanks Sankhajit. Yes, I suppose it is.

Sankhajit Bhattacharjee from MILWAUKEE on June 15, 2020:

how I raised my children is a philosophical poem...

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 15, 2020:

Thanks MsDora. Sometimes I write one quickly, but usually end up improving it and editing it before I publish. Thanks for reading and commenting as always.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 15, 2020:

John, I appreciate the fact that none of your poems ever seem hurried. All expertly done. They all showcase your excellent poetic skills. Thanks for your devotion to enhancing our lives with your talent.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Thanks for reading Linda. I appreciate your comment about the family photo too. The she shed is coming along well and sho7ld be finished this week.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 14, 2020:

The photo of your family is lovely and the poems are interesting, as always. I especially liked the one about the sunflower. A she shed is a great idea!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Good to see you Kyler. Yes, your country has been going through a lot in recent weeks. I can imagine the need for some quiet simplicity free of turmoil. Glad you liked the sunflower poem for that reason. Thanks for reading and commenting.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Yes manatita, Prime Minister Jacinta of New Zealand did an admirable job in regard to dealing with the virus, and other things. Although I am not a fan of our current Government in Australia (they bungled the bush fire response), I can’t fault how they have handled the pandemic situation either. We are in a better position than most countries.

Thank you for the “acts of God” prompt. That has been added to my list.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

I am so glad you enjoyed that poem I wrote from your suggestion, Mel. After your comment I actually went through and reread it and the others - and glad I did, as I found so many typos. I did rush to get this published and obviously didn’t proofread it. Anyway they are all fixed now I hope.

In regard to cruise ships, I had actually been considering booking another cruise before the virus hit. Now I am so glad I didn’t.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Good to see you Mary. Yes, I agree that it would be wonderful to be like a sunflower and be content just to sit and happily watch the sun each day. Thanks for the kind comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Hello Karen, good to see you here on the porch. The “she shed” just needs a few finishing touches but we have started moving things into it. I think she will love it. Thank you for reading and commenting on these poems.

Kyler J Falk from California on June 14, 2020:

This week I have to say that my favorite poem was, "The Sunflower."

These times have been chaotic; viruses, riots, cyber-stalkers, armed conflicts, racism... I needed the sunflower poem. Its simplicity is something gravely lacking right now, and the calming cycle it goes through inspired envy for such carefree existence.

Another excellent porch, John, thank you!

manatita44 from london on June 14, 2020:

I find the NZ Prime Minister a very decisive and charming woman and she seems to carry the country with her. Not an easy feat. I admire her.

Sorry about your loses due to various acts of God. A very interesting one. Happy you got some rain in the end.

Now maybe you can do something based on acts of God. Easy peasy' (Smile) Give them meaning and purpose. You have at least four major ones here in your poetry. Much Love.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on June 14, 2020:

God bless the wonderful fortitude of the people down under, our eternal friends and brothers. I believe that was one of your best poems, and I'm sitting here a little puffed up with myself for having suggested that you tackle the topic.

Cruise ships are indeed a vector for this disease. Every morning when I drive to the Post Office I look straight down the freeway out onto the Pacific Ocean. A cruise ship has been anchored out there on the open water for weeks. One of the forgotten, hushed up aspects of this pandemic is how cruise line employees have been stranded at sea for long periods, apparently unpaid! A trip on the Love Boat ain't what it used to be.

Once again, that was a beautiful poem. I am going back to reread it.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 14, 2020:

You are so good at doing poetry that you can respond to all these requests and there's so much in these poems. In particular, I love the sunflower. I love its way of following the sun all day. I wish I can do the same, look at the sun and feel good the whole day.

Karen A Szklany from New England on June 14, 2020:

Enjoyed these poems, John, especially the ones about parenthood and sunnflowers! Glad I stopped by, since it's been too long. Great artcile pulled together wisely, as usual.

Hope you're having a great week and your wife is settling into her "she shed."

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Thank you, Anya.

Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on June 14, 2020:

Good reading!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Thank you for reading and enjoying these poems Peg, and yes I am blessed to have my family. The Black Lives Matter movement is active here as well, in relation to our own aboriginal population. Fortunately the protests have been mainly peaceful.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 14, 2020:

Thanks for sharing the photo of your family. You are blessed to have them in your life! I enjoyed every poem this time. I think that everyone is looking forward to experiences after the lockdown. I will always think of my grandfather and one of his gardens where he grew potatoes. It was lined with sunflowers. I was fascinated as a child in the moving of those flower heads during the day as they turned towards the sun.

The Black Lives Matter movement has blossomed worldwide as a broad movement towards more equality and justice. Are you seeing any of that in your country?

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Ruby, I am always happy to see your comments. I am glad you like my writing style. We are lucky that the virus hasn’t infected anyone in my town so far..touch wood. But social distancing and travel restrictions etc have still been in place to be safe. I cut my hair too but I don’t have a lot so it is hard to make a mistake lol. That photo of my family is about eight years old too. Take care.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on June 14, 2020:

You never disappoint John, Each poem was written with honesty and a downhome style, which I admire so much. Thanks for the photo of your family. I am glad that the virus didn't hit close to home. We are still wearing masks and distancing, but the beauty shop opened. I cut my own hair twice and it sure looked like an unskilled cut......Until next time, stay well and happy.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Thank you for such an insightful comment, Verlie. Yes, I am blessed with a wonderful family and always thankful. Stay safe and well.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Thank you for always reading and commenting on my work Shauna. Yes parenting is both challenging and rewarding. Oh my wife has been waiting for the she shed for awhile lol. Better late than never. You can’t rush these things, and I do have a man cave so...

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on June 14, 2020:

Hi John, This is a rich collection of thoughts and images from your life and times. Taken together the poems leave an impression of a perservering spirit, patient, and still hopeful during a time of catastrophic change. You are blessed with a large and loving family! Stay well John.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 14, 2020:

John, I love this collection. My favorite is the one about parenting. It's a hard job, but it has it rewards, too. You have a lovely family!

Glad to hear your freelance business has picked up and that you've completed some home projects. I love the idea of a she-shed. I'm sure your wife does too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Thank you for such a lovely and caring comment, Li-Jen. Yes, we are all safe and well here. I hope you are too. I thought the sunflower was a good and positive way to finish up this collection of poems. I am glad you enjoyed them all.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Thank you Bill. Yes, I have just been trying to find time to finish off some of these poems I started a week ago. Glad you missed the weekly porch visits. Thanks for reading.

Li-Jen Hew on June 14, 2020:

Hi Jodah, I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy in Australia! You have survived to tell the tale of Covid-19 and the forest fires. Cool and open of you to have a poem about Raise Your Children because that seems like a private matter. You took it in a humble way. It was patient of you to write about the virus as we all know it's happening. I like how you add your positive attitude to it. If you won't travel, I hope you have a nice trip in your own porch! And the sunflower is bright yellow and cute, something to replace or put out the forest fire in your previous poem, as fire is yellow too. The sunflower is like a guard on the look out for better things to come. Thank you for sharing!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 14, 2020:

I was just wondering yesterday what happened to the porch poems, and here you are. It was worth the wait.

Glad to hear things are gong well for you, my friend. Take care.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

It is my pleasure to provide some reading to start your day off, Eric. I am happy you enjoyed these poems. Have a great day.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 14, 2020:

What a wonderful way to start a day. Thank you very much. Made me think of the micro and the macro of life -- from family to a whole country overcoming as one.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Hello Pamela. Thanks for visiting the porch and glad you enjoyed the poetry. You have a good week too.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 14, 2020:

It seems so appropriate to have a poem about all Australia has been through over the past year. I also thought rhw poem about raising children was also very good and I enjoyed all of yyour poems, as usual. I hope you have a good week, John.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

What can I say, Lorna? Your comment humbles me. I am glad the sunflower poem reminded you of your time in Italy, and you could relate to the Australian one. I am happy you liked the photo and the family poem as well. Thank you.

Lorna Lamon on June 14, 2020:

A poem for all life's eventualities John and as usual your versatility leaves me in awe. The sunflower reminded me of my life in Italy and your poem about Australia really struck a chord. However, my fave would have to be 'When the lockdown lifts' as it is full of honesty and hope.

A beautiful photo of the family to match this lovely poem. Enjoyed in the garden over a cup of tea (and a few biscuits) with my sister.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2020:

Thank you for that lovely comment, Liz. Yes, they would be a good historical chart of events. I hope I can put all these poems together one day in a complete anthology.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 14, 2020:

This collection was well worth the wait. We have 4 children. I hope you get to see your new grandchild soon. When you put your collection of poetry into an anthology, they will be a historical chart of recent events. Come to think of it, a great legacy to pass on to your grandchildren in the future.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 13, 2020:

Thank you for thinking about my country, Flourish. Life goes on no matter what gets thrown our way. Hopefully the year can only get better....the only way is up right now isn't it? it seems like the fires are long forgotten...but that is only because it is no longer a story for the media. They are devoted to covid-19 now.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 13, 2020:

Rosina, it makes me happy that you consider the collections are getting better. Sometimes I feel like one or two of the poems aren't up to a standard I'd like but they are often the ones the readers enjoy most, so what do I know haha. thank you for continuing to follow this series.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on June 13, 2020:

Thank you for reading my poetry, Anupam. I appreciate your kind comment. Glad you enjoyed.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 13, 2020:

I enjoyed this. I’ve wondered about your country and the wildlife, how everything is hopefully rebounding from the fires. Sometimes it just seems like one thing right after another. I appreciate your upbeat poetry. I have to believe we have better days ahead.

Rosina S Khan on June 13, 2020:

All the poems in today's collection are lovely, and I couldn't just name a fave. However, "From the Fire into the Frying Pan" certainly made me laugh, and I found the image funny too. Thanks for such a wonderful collection. It is amazing that the collections get better and better each time. We owe it to your God-Gifted talent. Have a blessed day, John!.

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on June 13, 2020:

How I Raised My Children is amazing and also the other poems.

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