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Lines for Translation into Any Language

by James Fenton

1. I saw that the shanty town had grown over the graves and
  that the crowd lived among the memorials.

2. It was never very cold; a parachute slung between an angel
  and an urn afforded shelter for newcomers.

3. Wooden beds were essential.

4. These people kept their supplies of gasoline in litre bottles,
  which the children sold at the cemetery gates.

5. That night the city was attacked with rockets.

6. The firebrigade bided its time.

7. The people dug for money beneath their beds, to pay
  the firemen.

8. The shanty town was destroyed, the cemetery restored.

9. Seeing a plane shot down, not far from the airport, many of
  the foreign community took fright.

10. The next day, they joined the queues in the gymnasium,
   asking to leave.

11. When the victorious army arrived, they were welcomed by
   the firebrigade.

12. This was the only spontaneous demonstration in their favour.

13. Other spontaneous demonstrations in their favour were
   organised by the victors.


James Fenton was born in Lincoln and educated at Oxford. He has been a political and literary journalist at the New Statesman, a free-lance reporter in Cambodia and Vietnam, and a foreign correspondent in Germany for The Guardian. He now reviews theatre for The Sunday Times; You Were Marvelous, a collection of his theatre criticism, will be published this year by Jonathan Cape. (1983)

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