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This poem is taken from PN Review 19, Volume 7 Number 5, May - June 1981.

Talking to Bede Alistair Elliot

'YOU think historians must be keen to see
What followed their escape from history?
You think we can't find out? I'd rather hear
The earth described. Remind us of the Wear,
The creatures, plants and light where I began
To look around the domicile of man,
The home I only saw till I was seven.'

You miss the handiworks of God, in heaven?

'That's what we all must go without; so when
You die, bring news of nature, not of men.
None of us saw enough: we lived too much
In the small range of feelings, taste and touch.'

What, even you?
               'You'd think not, but I still
Long for one walk across a field or hill.'

The Tunstall Hills, then, limestone-did you know
More than two hundred million years ago

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