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This poem is taken from PN Review 230, Volume 42 Number 6, July - August 2016.

At Hollow Ponds

Epping Forest
John Welch
‘Where the chimpanzee is able to recognise that the mirror is an epistemological void, and to turn his attention elsewhere, the child has a perverse will to remain deluded.’



A cold grey day in early March.
Travelling with a swarm of them
We’re two of the conspirators
While these implacably cheerful children
Cross the bald ground. In the bushes
The five-year-old finds a dead fox:
‘It smells like rotten fish.’

Hanging back, watching, and hearing their voices –
They arrive as if from nowhere
Travelling over the threadbare carpet of sound.
I wasn’t sure I was still there beside you,
Flying apart we flew along together
As if caught in the same storm.
Much later we’ll return to the grove.

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