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(1942 / London)

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At the Antonine Wall

It scars the dullest part of Scotland,
obliterated under warehouses,
short term railways, housing schemes,
the outskirts of uncertain villages.
Or suddenly it scythes a wood,
a shocking vallum, double walled,
a stretch beside a minor road,
an earthwork, an intrusive ridge.
We never quite believed in it,
constructed to last only decades,
land-engineering that has worn
longer than those patched canals,
in places rubbish-strewn, employed to dump
ungainly memories, or vanished legions.

2008

Submitted: Sunday, June 12, 2011
Edited: Monday, June 13, 2011


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