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image by christine renney

In the poetry section of the secondhand bookshop

I stand in front of a wall of lost verse

Of forgotten poems

Overwhelmed I choose a volume at random

And leafing through I begin reading

But just snippets

Here and there

I know some of the poets of course

Shakespeare dominates almost four whole shelves

But there are so many poems languishing here


I reach for a collection by Charles Causley

And I scan the index for the one about

The Jolly Hunter and there it is

‘Jolly good,’ I say

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image by christine renney

I lead a mundane life and I’m okay with that. In fact, I embrace it. I have always managed to make enough money in order to provide for myself and give a little to charity. If I have any ambition at all it is simply to be the quintessential ‘Everyman.’ But as I navigate my way through each day, head down and hardly speaking, Irealisethat I have failed.

I voted to Remain and I read The Guardian, I read poetry, I write poetry, I haven’t read TheDaVinci Code, and I’m not on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram.

I didn’t watch ‘the game’ last night or ‘MrsBrown’s Boys’ or ‘Top Gear’ – I don’t play golf or ‘Call of Duty’ or ‘Grand Theft Auto’. And I don’t think Katie Hopkins has ‘a point’ or that Boris Johnson is ‘doing his best’ and ‘will get it sorted.’

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image by christine renney

During all their decades of searching, the Gatherers hadn’t ever discovered any signs of another settlement. Martha had explained to him that the early Scholars had emphasised the importance of the technology because they had believed it would be a means of communication, a way of reaching out and connecting with others. But they had been wrong and their legacy was merely a collection of crushed and broken components. 

After the Plains had been picked clean, Dana and the other children had been taught about the Internet in school and the Pamphlets had been prevalent for years. The Scholars couldn’t suddenly snatch back all of that information and so it had become about the relevance of history and how they could learn from the past, rather than it being something to which they should aspire. 

Following the Stranger, Nate cursed himself once again for not bringing a hat. He still held the apple and had been rubbing it intermittently on the front of his sweatshirt since he first picked it up. It felt to him like a gesture of goodwill, an invitation even. But the possibility that he was being led into a trap was something he couldn’t shake. The Stranger had something that neither he or the villagers back at the Settlement had; a rifle and Nate’s first glimpse of it as the man turned played in his head as if on a wheel, making its way round and round again.