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Tag Archives Gradgrind


Where the primary school and the houses end

are hawthorn hedges and occasional oaks

on either side of the lane. From the school gates

the leafless trees are an arching, tangled

fretwork – closer each twig is proud, discrete,

vital, sentient. A sudden gust of wind,

or a lightning blow, in one oak tree’s

early growth snapped off a branch, and left an arm

with a claw like a beak. Shut behind the gates

the gradground children have no chance at all

to imagine the stub of a branch a bird,