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This poem is taken from PN Review 16, Volume 7 Number 2, November - December 1980.

Acts of Faith Neil Powell

1. Crabbe at Aldeburgh

The saltmaster's son returned. Half-qualified,
Half-dreamer, half in love, and out of luck.
'Mask-ill-Mask-ill; and so you shall find me,'
Roared his employer when called by Crabbe 'Maskwell'.
But the new young 'doctor' found small employment,
His head full of botany, poetry, Miss Elmy.

Yet he remained, drawn to the protestant coast,
The poor quay at Slaughden, the splintered buildings.
1st of January, 1779:
'Eleven houses here were at once demolished . . .
He saw the breakers dash over the roofs,
Curl around the walls . . . crush all to ruin.'

1780, London: 'the miserable year,'
Says the biographer son, 'that he spent in the City . . .
Nothing but disappointments and repulses.'
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