From a grove of oaks near Hadrian's Wall two English crows are conversing in coarse, rasping voices. I hear them say, "I'm here dealing and to be dealt with." Yet in part I hear the tones of Churchill, when he growled about defending the island against the Nazis, with no "t," drawing out the "z." These birds also give us conviction, gritty, terse, and unadorned. They give us endurance beyond fashion, without fluff, an avian version of the dry stone walls that bisect these fields. Listen, you young Englishmen, in your earrings, your Mohawks, or natty in your business suits with rolled umbrellas. This is the voice of England being itself - musical with a slight growl, not giving an inch to anybody.

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