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This report is taken from PN Review 149, Volume 29 Number 3, January - February 2003.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

August 1994

Westhall again. Overcast weather, unstressed. The Bohun aisle is where whatever is about to be could be again, but nothing is going to be taken by storm. The colours are comfortable, and a tractor is ploughing somewhere nearby, so silence and remoteness are only inferred. No thistledown comes in, even when I leave the door open and there is a draught. Here are the sixteen bench ends to the south of the aisle. I get to know their poppy-heads some more. Eventually I put my panama hat on the third one from the back. It punches the folded crown half out, and the hat tilts as if it were facing along the bench towards the head at the inner end, against the wall. As if it were pushed back off a forehead. Its straw is slightly brighter and more assertive than the colour of the walls, its black band a trifle darker than the wood and the shadows. It stands out. It makes the head into a head. I am aware of how all the other heads, fifteen of them, look straight to their front, but are only pretending not to notice it. They refuse to look. Even the one facing it does not focus on it, but stares rigidly through it. I begin to play to that. I walk away, up the aisle, and look back. From behind, the curled sides of the poppy-head emerge from beneath the brim, like long hair, swept up ...


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