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This report is taken from PN Review 231, Volume 43 Number 1, September - October 2016.

From the Jourals 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. The notes to Langley’s Complete Poems, edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod, cite a number of unpublished journal entries that directly informed the writing of his verse.


WESTHALL CHURCH, AUGUST 1981

Light thickens. The great silence has begun at Westhall. The tree by the gate, the massive lime, is, suddenly, in blossom and has flasks of subtle sweetness pouring out, catching in unexpected airy pockets far off, soaking the close place… and, moreover, a deep and steady hum like telephone wires, because concealed close under its sprays and lax, tender leaves – hundreds of bees. Only occasionally does one see one bounce out – but leaves twitch all over and the bees work deep in and passionately. The sound fills the parking place and the south side of the church but is shut off as you step through the south door. So – the extraordinary climatic moment, powerhouse … as the red sky shrinks … and no wind moves a blade or twig. The hum, alone in the evening quiet. Inside – the dusk in the dry chalky light and poignant dusty smell. The dusk increases the distance between you and the things you are perceiving – comes to help the mind’s remoteness, in which it is possible to take some peace – so that touching something could be a slightly unpleasant breakage … like, ...


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