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George Harvey Bone

by Andrew McDonnell

That summer I spent sleepwalking
through mirror worlds of Norfolk seaside towns
in perpetual gloom, like a filter over a camera lens:
                        in Old Hunstanton
on the cliffs, I sat in the shelter
on the manicured green.

Next to me sat Mr George Harvey-Bone
who had slipped out, he said, from evensong
                 “Where the choir sang like planes
going out across the channel
          and the stain glass showed ruins
          of Coventry cathedral.”  

Funny, I thought
as Harvey-Bone went in ‘39
and has slipped from the pages
            of that book.  

‘I’m looking for Mr Hamilton”
he said, “I want to know why I’m ill
           I heard he’s shooting up in Sheringham
but the dead aren’t allowed on the bus…
           …so I can’t leave old Sunny Hunny.”

             He turned his head towards me
  like a shutter coming down on a shop.
Staring out across
        the phosphorescencing Wash
I found myself saying
        that if I bumped into Mr Hamilton
I’d be sure to let him know.

(This poem appears by kind permission of the author.)

Norfolk Poems




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