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We Are Detective

A few days ago I listened to a podcast about Vincent Starrett, newspaper, bibliophile, Sherlockian, and according to Wikipedia at least, instrumental in bringing the work of weird fiction author Arthur Machen to the United States. The episode included a recitation of Starrett’s poem 221 B, which I present here for the simple fact that I like it, the last line of the first verse in particular.

221 B

Here dwell together still two men of note
Who never lived and so can never die:
How very near they seem, yet how remote
That age before the world went all awry.
But still the game’s afoot for those with ears
Attuned to catch the distant view-halloo:
England is England yet, for all our fears—
Only those things the heart believes are true.

A yellow fog swirls past the window-pane
As night descends upon this fabled street:
A lonely hansom splashes through the rain,
The ghostly gas lamps fail at twenty feet.
Here, though the world explode, these two survive,
And it is always eighteen ninety-five.

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