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This report is taken from PN Review 192, Volume 36 Number 4, March - April 2010.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

10 January 2009

Another freezing night, down to minus four, says Philip as I meet him by the church gate on my way back round the Glue-Pot. It has been the coldest January for twenty years, we are told. All hedges, trees, grass are white, bristling with spicules of frost pointing to the west, while the east side of a twig is still bare and brown. Even the heliotrope on the verge here, which was growing vigorously, has taken a beating, the kidney-shaped, vivid green leaves are buckling and the one flower spike already developed has collapsed limply. I sniff the vanilla of it when I hold it close to my nose. There was a male bullfinch in Edward’s Lane, keeping ahead of me along the hedge. Fog dwindles to mist. Jackdaws walk the fields. There will be wind and rain moving south tonight, so temperatures should have risen by dawn tomorrow.

And this comes true, though the rain is delayed. The heliotrope leaves are restored to their neat, braced, level condition, and there is a pied wagtail in next door’s back garden and a grey one in the gull, jumping at the concrete wall of it, running back to the central trickle of water with those quick paces and that steadied body which makes it seem to float smoothly on the ground. I feel a little charged, in these sharpened circumstances of changing weather, by thinking about haiku, the ‘scent-link’ between and within poems. ...


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