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death's terror and delirium

St George, South Acre, Norfolk


On pillow after pillow lies

The wild white hair and staring eyes;


Jaws stand open; necks are stretched

With every tendon sharply sketched;


A bearded mouth talks silently

To someone no one else can see.


Sixty years ago they smiled

At lover, husband, first-born child.


Smiles are for youth. For old age come

Death's terror and delirium.


Philip Larkin, Heads in the Women's Ward (1972)


Detail of the Barkham memorial, by John and Matthias Christmas, 1634.


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Taken on October 31, 1900