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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 1, March 2019
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Gerry Jacobson
Canberra, Australia


Derelict

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
                          – Richard Lovelace

I pass the building, look up at boarded windows and graffiti. Thirty years of my life were spent here. The back of my neck prickles. The humiliation of being passed over. Such gritting of teeth that I cracked them. Pretending not to mind. Always pretending. All those boring afternoons finding sanctuary in the library when what I really wanted was to go home. My real life was at home: family, house, garden. Stick it out till 5 pm Gerry. Still flushed, embarrassed, late for work changing nappies or something; and the boss, cold-blooded old C, by an electric radiator. And T who always read the paper first, and people smoking in the office. Opened the window to frigid frosty air. What a struggle; no wonder I don’t remember much of those years.

grass pushing up
through cracks
in the pavement


Note: The epigraph consists of the first two lines of the final stanza of "To Althea, from Prison," a poem written by Richard Lovelace in 1642. Lovelace wrote the poem while imprisoned in Gatehouse Prison adjoining Westminster Abbey for encouraging the Clergy Act 1640 to be annulled.

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