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This report is taken from PN Review 233, Volume 43 Number 3, January - February 2017.

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 The notes to Langley’s Complete Poems, edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod, cite a number of unpublished journal entries that directly informed the writing of his verse.

14 May 2000 , Minsmere Beach, Suffolk

At the top of the shingle the low bank is undercut, draped by dead marram, stuffed with packed flints. But it has a narrow gutter, along its base, of clear sand, maybe where the last high waves tickled out the flints so they fell away. The sand is pocked with small holes. I take a length of marram and poke into one. Half an inch above it a fan of black spider’s legs suddenly protrudes from the sand. I poke below these and force a fine arctosa perita out into the open so it runs very briefly, then freezes. Perfect match. The glassy sand grains, in size and colours, match its mottlings, cinnamon, ginger, black, orange. It moves only its chelicerae, a little. After a long time it goes to another hole, under a pebble, pulls itself in, backs out, waits some more. Eventually it heaves itself out of sight under the sand where there seemed to be no hole… the remnants of its old tunnel, possibly. The surface shrugs as it pushes deeper. A dead female minotaur beetle rolled on her back close by, carapace horns short and unobtrusive, dead eyes ...


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