Note from the Outside

Note from the Outside

Here are busy streets of fish,
dead tower-blocks squatted by gulls.

When they dropped me off at the wood's edge
I was stammered by green,
I was torn to rags by the silence.
I walked like a bent pin,
stubbing my toes on the emptiness.

Remember that library book about the ocean?
You should see the night sky:
its buoys and lighthouses,
its flares and shipping lanes.


From Hard Water (Jonathan Cape, 2003), copyright © Jean Sprackland 2003, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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1Note from the Outside

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2Hard Water

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3Fibre Optics

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4Reading Leaves

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5The Apprentice

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6The Currency of Jellyfish

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7The Light Collector

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8The Room of Saints and Virgins

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9Seacoal

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10Losing the Dark

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11Holy

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12No Man's Land

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13Barbie on the Roof

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14Lovell Radio Telescope, Jodrell Bank

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15The Hairdresser's Across the Street

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16And They All Lived Happily Ever After

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17A Baby in the Filing Cabinet

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18Before There Were Weather Forecasts

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19Caravan

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20The Man who Comes to Empty the Bottle Bank

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21Shocks

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22A Hangman's New Career

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23The Mission

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24An Old Friend Comes to Stay

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25Everything Must Go

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26Shadow Photograph

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27Learning to Love Money

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28Teaching Frogs to Fly

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29Deadnettle

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30In the Planetarium

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31Radio Silence

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32Tattoos for Mothers' Day

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33Ice on the Beach

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34You

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35Physics

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36Spilt

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37Underfire

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Books by Jean Sprackland