...West End London after twenty years and
    all the Londoners are young
    and I am old. The women in particular――the girls; the birds――
    all in this hot weather wearing little, stripped
    for speed as they pass me by
    hurrying to get beyond a Britain that just barely still exists
    Chinese Indians Africans and Arabs
    lovely in their different shades of skin and light clothes
    veils of Salome or head scarves fallen on the shoulders
    pink & yellow saris or the tight & low cut jeans
    cinched with a wide leather belt just above the pubic bone
    a glitter of the jewelry in navel lip or nose
    and elsewhere doubtless out of sight they stride through
    the present with their men who now and then
    point to something in the air――
                                                             Nelson's there ok and
    he is just the same
    the only Old Boy I recognize just now around his square
    where oddly I have digs in Suffolk Street
    behind the gallery in whose basement shelter dug out low
    down and lower day after day
    Myra Hess played on. I wrote about it in this book.

    Lord K is partially amnesiac but knows his way to members'
    dining room while we must find a wheelchair for L
    he's off         & we get lost in narrow hallways ask yet
    other ancients where to go and double back
    on doublebackings in a warren where the clerks scurry and
    the secretaries scatter where's the members' dining  room  I don't
    know I'm not a member mate and no one
    really recognizes Lord K it's been so long since he attended been
    so long since Harold Wilson's cabinet met
    these men with automatic weapons are security you needn't be
    afraid because our papers have been tied around
    our necks with silken ribbons when a long time ago the bombers
    still were IRA and not the present lot I sat through
    a debate about abortion
                                              everybody shook his own
    member in the gents but you don't want to do it
    in the dining room they'll take away your privileges we haven't
    seen you for a long time everybody thought
    that you were dead
    I say the smoked salmon's awfully good & for the main
    course I'll have the peasant    rice pudding     stilton cheese                ex-


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Sources for Coda.

Franz Schubert, Schwangesang, D. 957, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore

Lotte Lehmann, Eighteen Song Cycles

Dmitri Shostakovich, Symphony 14, op. 135. Gothenburg Symphony, Neme Jarvi.

Humphrey Carpenter, Benjamin Britten: A Biography

Suffolk Street. Street in central London on the north side of Trafalgar Square and running adjacent to the National Gallery.

Lord K. Wayland Young, the second Baron Kennet (1923-2009). Labour and SDP politician who served as a parliamentary secretary during the first Wilson government (1964-70). Married to Elizabeth Young, elder sister of Diana Matthias.

A wheelchair for L. Elizabeth Young, Lady Kennet.

Still IRA. From 1973 until 1994 the Provisional Irish Republican Army carried out a bombing campaign on the mainland UK as part of its fight for independence. In 1979 Airey Neave MP died in Parliament's car park as the result of a car bomb planted by the Irish National Liberation Army.

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