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I crossed the causeway, late December, cold
In the clear sun that lit the whole island,
And washed in wind from sea and highland,
Gave in to gales. I saw that I could hold
No more than open dry walls, knee high, rolled
And blasted by the sky, then left to stand
As sketches of a heavy, thick-thumbed hand
Against the turf. For nineteen years I shoaled
In riptides, crossing currents complicated
By competing parent floods to fetch up here,
Pickpocketed, neaped, penniless. I waited.
A gust flowed through my hair, my closed eyes sheared
Over the stone of the Venerable Bede
Who set all dates from one, AD, done deed.

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