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This poem is taken from PN Review 15, Volume 7 Number 1, September - October 1980.

Burrington Combe C.H. Sisson


Not what I think but any land beside
Hidden from human speech, is where I go
As that dark leaf of thyme pushes its way
Into the empty world, and so speak I

Blackdown and Burrington and the deep combe
Which was my land, is also what shall be
Arraigned by time, I make my way only
Backwards, where I may look indulgently

And yet the indulgent land, where silence is
Is not my friend nor ever was before
The great ferns held terror as well as love
Who was lost on the heather-covered moor?

If I could climb out of this bitter combe
Into a lucid world, nothing there said
Could equal now the silence of your grief
Or the exchanges of the recorded dead

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