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Mercian Hymns VII

 Gasholders, russet among fields.
Milldams, marlpools that lay unstirring.
Coagulations of frogs: once, with branches and half-bricks, he battered a ditchful; then sidled away from the stillness and silence.
Ceolred was his friend and remained so, even after the day of the lost fighter: a biplane, already obsolete and irreplaceable, two inches of heavy snub silver.
Ceolred let it spin through a hole in the classroom-floorboards, softly, into the rat-droppings and coins.
After school he lured Ceolred, who was sniggering with fright, down to the old quarries, and flayed him.
Then, leaving Ceolred, he journeyed for hours, calm and alone, in his private derelict sandlorry named Albion.

by Geoffrey Hill
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