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This report is taken from PN Review 248, Volume 45 Number 6, July - August 2019.

from the Journals
The Self Is Gone
From the Journals, August 1970
R.F. Langley
MONDAY 17TH
Near Aldridge, then Staffordshire, now West Midlands,

Sun bright later, things lay on thicker, moist and warm under the hedge behind Hobs Hole Wood,  many butterflies, large white1 most obviously, pairs, threes, going to the washed-out poppies like tissue, not flesh, then an understrata of walls, on bare patches of the track, in the sun, between the knot grass, trodden into flat felt but composed of long stems when you pluck one, leaving a bald area beneath, the pads of trodden grass, small, each on a shadow, smaller charlock pieces, all plants on a smaller scale on the path, rayless chamomile still standing up like loose wire, more thrashing against the toes with its heavier heads, keeping wetter longer.

The walls constantly raided by one or two small coppers, very neat and vivid, twisting so fast you lose sight and think they may have settled. Purest, fullest colour of all, blood orange with black edge and thinnest white thread round it, fast straight edge, waiting on the small bald patches like the others but so much quicker and denser, flip not float.

Did not sit and watch long enough. Too quick to move along in the humdrum for much to happen. Birds catch light in the cobalt sky but casually, a colder flash, going somewhere.

Yesterday there was the one hawthorn through the binoculars which was rich enough with a situation to be arresting – two great tits being beckoned by a willow warbler, very greeny-yellow, and a whitethroat ...


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