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The little brushing kiss fell in the centre of my palm – as a gift on which the fingers were, once, expected to close: as the all-faithful half-reproachful signal of a waiting child not used to neglect even when grown-ups were busiest – a fragment of the mute code devised very long ago.
Then I knew.


This is from ‘They’ in ‘Traffics and Discoveries’. On one of his motor journeys across Sussex, the narrator has happened on a beautiful old house, with a lovely garden full of the sounds and glimpses of children at play. He makes friends with the blind lady who lives there and they talk of the joy that children can bring. It is only later that he realises that ‘They’ are the ghosts of dead children, including his own long lost daughter.