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This report is taken from PN Review 247, Volume 45 Number 5, May - June 2019.

from the Journals
From the Journals, 23 November 2001
R.F. Langley
The language of the day again is birds. The cat’s cradle handed us is again the estuary, the wide sky over it, the winter reedbeds. Some anticipated variations play out of this… the kingfisher on the pools in the reeds by the path beyond the wrecked rowing boat and the car tyre that have been there in the weaving for many years. There it goes, the turquoise brighter than anything expected in the rest of the scene, the vermillion right in with it, clashing, harsh richness, tiny detonation prolonged in the low dash over the biscuit-coloured reeds, their soft brown heads. The tide out, the mud wet and reflecting. Redshank beaks lowered to peck their own inverted tips. Curlews lifting and folding their feet as they step forward on the stickiness, treading on their inverted images, adhering to them. A stretched-out flock of dozens of dunlin, pale-stomached, grey-backed, along the reefs, with the redshank. Formations of flocks in the air as entities rippling and twisting. A lone hawk, white-breasted, dark-backed, very upright on a stump, then dashing low over the runnels, setting up the waders. The twanging of bearded tits by the hide, and I step to the door and here they are, barred in the reedstems, then clean on the rail of the walkway, rich chestnut, white, black, grey, sudden, seen or more, then gone again.

B returns with a viper draped over a stick, a thin dribble of blood along its lip, black eye, pale ochre, near cream, and the broken zig down it, ...

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