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This report is taken from PN Review 232, Volume 43 Number 2, November - December 2016.

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 The notes to Langley’s Complete Poems, edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod, cite a number of unpublished journal entries that directly informed the writing of his verse.

23 August – 7 September 1974, Gislingham Church, Suffolk

The diamond panes in windows have been partly replaced by clear glass, so that one doubts there is glass at all in these random patches. Quilted hotchpotch like the floor. Outside ice clouds pile across and sweep by. The nettles and burnt grass and blackened umbellifers are deep. The sills are below their heads. Looking out from the long hulk of the church, one is low in the water. Mountain ash thrash, elders, some sort of shining leaved bush… it’s a spindle tree… meadow cranesbill bleaches white against the footings. Through the back, south window air comes. A hole. And the electric light in a crockery shade, creaks on its long chain. A blue tit climbs on it. Best of all a spotted flycatcher is in the roof, with a nest in an oak hole at the base of the second hammerbeam back on the south of the nave. The bleached, hacked wood warps apart. Dark ground of timbers with newer, browner, shinier replaced boards above in the interstices. Web threads hang weighted with bits and flakes. A burr of wings. The neatness. The worried tail, wet white chin and throat, pale eyestripe, more chestnut back; dark, big ...


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