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Over the Dead Flatness of the Fens

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Like columns of mist
in some temple to a vanished god,
the late cloud-stacks mass over a June
reduced to the sickly greens of the Norfolk broads;

and, above the steam-soiled mess
where earthworms grovel, where lumpish toads
set up the resistances of grace,
where badgers undermine the tarred road,

I watch the canvas of that underpainted sky
through a jellied glass of vermouth
while the gravestone crops up
and an oily wind steels itself to the south.

There certain winged creatures
from a century misplaced on shelves
take the day down with a moaning chant
known to themselves.


Source: Poetry (September 2010)

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This poem originally appeared in the September 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

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Over the Dead Flatness of the Fens

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