Thursday, 22 July 2010

On the East Coast

When I was seven I thought all cliffs were made of clay;

the land stopping at a ragged brown edge

chewed like a comforter by a sea anxious to claim it.

The steps to the beach are a ladder once used on roofs,

now pinned to the thatch of turf and not quite

reaching, so you have to jump the last few feet.

I scramble up and down in muddy sandshoes,

with dirty knees and wind whipped cheeks

while my mother sits placidly with a flask of Bovril.

On the cliff top the land frays and lurches seaward,

below it dissolves like a sandcastle in the incoming tide

or oozes into chocolate pools like Fry’s Five Boys left in the sun.

On winter walks we see great bites of ground

slide recklessly downwards, and when summer comes again

the landscape is different; the ladder lost in a storm,

my shoes no longer fit, the flask has broken.

There is a new baby,

and even the earth is inconstant.

Painting by Myles Birket Foster, poem by yours truly.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how I missed this first time, perhaps I was on my wanderings! Anyway it is a real memory piece and such great descriptive words and rhythms. My kind of poem. Thankyou.