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Waiting for the Nightingale by Miles Burrows

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Miles Burrows is a poet always in love, and confused – as lovers tend to be – by the inconstant nature of ‘the other’. In this, his second book of poems, published half a century after the first (A Vulture’s Egg, 1966), he is also aware, merrily for the most part, of mortality. Eros and Thanatos tap at his funny bone. Does God exist? he asks. Will the nightingale, the one right nightingale, sing?

The landscapes of these poems are drawn from the Far East, New Guinea and the Home Counties, where Burrows has served as a doctor, psychiatrist and a teacher. Thematically the poems build on Burrows’s eccentric childhood in a vanished but vividly reimagined, even re-invented England, rich in voices, disappointments and epiphanies and always maintaining a dialogue – now mischievous, now outrageous – with the present. The reader gratefully turns the pages, hoping the conversation will continue well beyond the back cover.

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