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This poem is taken from PN Review 222, Volume 41 Number 4, March - April 2015.

Three Poems from Heath John Greening
Part of a series of poems set on Hounslow Heath, written as part of a collaborative project with Penelope Shuttle. The two poets were brought up on opposite sides of the same once notorious tract, now better known as Heathrow.


This is a dry, dangerous place, away from the river,
from the everyday, its safe demands. The last mill’s wave,

a hovel’s distant wink. With a drink (to change!), their talk
rattling like chainmail, a pair go riding under the gibbet

and into the dark, all battles behind them. The Bath Road
or the Staines Road? Neither can avoid that bleak exposure

where the enlisted will be drilled, where invading forces muster,
without one church spire to contradict the horizontal,

a zone you enter to find yourself heading towards yourself,
free of the march, the taut spring, into a timelessness,

a fencelessness. Our famous Heath. Its enormous absence
of anything but lizard, buzzard, kite and mouse,

no coppice or hedge or field, but an unenclosed pack
of wildtracks, furze, bog; then a single roding nightbird

and a final call for the wolf of Perry Oaks. You are far

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