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On the Great North RoadAlistair Elliot
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Vol. 14 No. 9 · 14 May 1992
Poem

On the Great North Road

Alistair Elliot

108 words

Here hedges used to move off
thoughtfully, at an angle,
like green sheep in single file,
or seemed to. Now they really have,
taking the grass as well,
leaving the land stripped to the buff.

What we see is pure substrate,
the abstract thing plants grow on,
the start-line of a calculation.
I think it is a dusty mat
someone has spread on the slow ocean
of rock. Is this my planet?

The wind is blowing it away.
The solid earth begins to turn
into a brown gas. A neutron
drives through England in this way.
My eyes water, my lungs burn.
Am I allergic to my country?

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