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This poem is taken from PN Review 36, Volume 10 Number 4, March - April 1984.

Robert Brackenbury Alison Brackenbury
Ancestors are not in our blood, but our heads:
we make history.
Therefore I claim
you, from dark folds of Lincolnshire
who share my name
and died two hundred years ago
you, man, remembered there
for doing good: lost, strange and sharp you rise
like smoke: because it was your will
all letters, papers, perish when you died.

Who burnt them? Wife or daughter, yawning maid
poked down the struggling blackness in the grate
or walked slow, to the place where leaves were burnt,
the white air, winter's. Slips of ash
trembled on the great blue cabbage leaves:
O frozen sea.

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