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This report is taken from PN Review 235, Volume 43 Number 5, May - June 2017.

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 The notes to Langley’s Complete Poems, edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod, cite a number of unpublished journal entries that directly informed the writing of his verse.

AUGUST 1995


The Old Meeting House, Wash Lane, Wenhaston, Suffolk


4 August: Friday evening I watch the swifts over the garden and they finally vanish about ten minutes past nine, with darkness coming on and the clouds filling the sky, grey and level bottomed, with melted combings of whiter ones between them and paled blue beyond. Suffusions of bone yellow. The birds were a party of fifty or so, maybe not so many, but high for most of an hour, not getting higher. They moved gradually north over the village and their places were not taken by others. The rose and golden sunset took place over Wash Lane. The swifts shrank, their voices just prickling the edge of silence, I could still see them with the binoculars, trembling, planing… but were they higher or just further away? I could not tell – then they had disappeared behind the trees surrounding the garden. A croak called my attention to two heron, rowing steadily southward.
*

…B finds a fully-fledged, brown, handsome young blackbird, injured, lying tilted onto its face with one crippled leg and wing, alongside the cottage front fence, which has netting tacked to its newly creosoted posts. ...


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