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This report is taken from PN Review 229, Volume 42 Number 5, May - June 2016.

From the Journals

From the Journals of R. F. Langley
R.F. Langley
The poet R. F. Langley (1938–2011) was also, privately, a prolific prose writer. Extracts from his journals, which he began in 1969, first appeared in PN Review in 2002, and a selected volume, Journals, was published by Shearsman in 2006. The notes to Carcanet’s recent edition of Langley’s Complete Poems, edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod, cite a number of unpublished journal entries that directly informed the writing of his verse.

4 June 2006

On the pool by the hide, beyond Lime Kiln Sluice, the large island is smothered in yellow flowers, low to the ground in a mat, with red runners stretching over the soil, under and between them, reaching the shore, plunging over into the water. I can only think that this is creeping cinquefoil. A common sandpiper walks and bobs amongst it, pecking. There is a heron, moving its feet cautiously, bending, a kink in its neck, stabbing with a considerable splash, catching a small silver fish crosswise in its beak most times. An egret operates in contrast. It runs in the water, lifting its yellow feet clear at each step, stabbing to right and left, picking insects off the surface as well as fish from beneath. When it stops running, it works its feet up and down in the mud below the surface, disturbing its food…

As the heron moves, it makes, of course, ripples. All ripples, of course, move away from it, they widen round it, spread out in front of it. They throw up white stripes of reflection, which slide ...

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