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This poem is taken from PN Review 195, Volume 37 Number 1, September - October 2010.

A Huntingdonshire Elegy Neil Powell

In memory of Rod Shand

How typical of you to disappear like that:
Nothing packed, wallet and house-keys left,
Just going for a stroll. So here’s a caveat:

A double existence out of Greene or Le Carré
Is something you might plausibly possess.
Your life’s disguises seem to twinkle: ‘Solve me!’

You were a riddle from the day I heard of you:
Bored, out of my depth, at my first staff meeting,
Where dull men grumbled on about no one I knew.

‘What does one say to a boy who spends his summer
Touring the brothels of Latin America?’
Silence, then: ‘Ask for the addresses, Headmaster.’

This I must meet, I thought. And luck had me teaching
‘General English’ to the upper science sixth,
As if someone supposed they needed civilising.

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