Peppered

The house was one of those that survived.
Years past, most of the village had gone
Washed away, lost, swept up
A besom broom of water and energy and grit
Cast off into the salt-pan of jetsam
And untethered cargo
Right at the street end.
Now the nor’easterly pounded in
The walls shook up from the foundations
Jurassic Park writ real
Our water and wine turned choppy
No salvation it seemed
From the insistent rumble
Incapable of being unheard;
The windows smeared with brine
The walls peppered with shingle
The unending wind
Wailed and whistled ghoulishly
Through seaweed-smeared chimney pots
Kelp flung like phoney confetti –
Outside,
Dogs wore a sideways parting
Owners sported brackish bangs
As they pushed through the car wash
And brushed with the drink;
Seagulls surfed breaker tops
Before banking to vertical
And shrieking desperately as sodden chips
Mushy pea pots and batter crumbs
Went howling down the road – lost
The upended bin nudged by the sea wall
That gyrated, then giggled, then cried
In ecstasy and agony
At such unwanted attention

Doggerland

Far out, across the choppy billows
Pushed up by the shallows of the Dogger Bank
Probing lights sweep the wave tops
Blinking spots on a radar screen
Focus down, target the shoal;
Unbeknown, the flicking shards below
Silver-backed, iridescent, pearly-oil slicks
Of the herring-hive, dart and flare
Their fate ominously stalking –

Weighted nets plunge and drag
As the coughing diesel bucks and pulls
The mighty haul plunges too
Into the inner depths
Of that greasy tub,
Tomorrow’s fodder, soon dispatched, soon packed

Back on the slippery quay
A catch of a different kind
Is left in wonderment
No pennies here for the grizzled fisherman
No exotic flatfish for Billingsgate or La Boqueria

Bones, bones…
Stripped of flesh, polished
By the gentle swash and wash
On the sand armed sea floor;
Bones, bones…
Thigh bones like the Flintstones
Antlers of mega deer
Ivory, pocked with cavities, long-term decay;
Bones, bones…
Clues of a different land
Remnants of grasslands and river banks
Memories of once great plains
That swept from Pacific to Atlantic
Scarified by bitter winds
Sun baked and buzzing with life…

The last remnants –
The reminders of the past –
Our past, of Doggerland,
And maybe, of our tomorrow

Some look to the sea

Some look to the sea.
It’s in their bones, somehow;
Deep within, buried, innate –
In their very marrow, their blood,
Maybe not real, except to them –
Inexplicable, but there all the same.

Some look to the land.
Grains through their fingers
A brittle loam, dry, yet life packed,
A call – of the river bank, of the oak
A call – of the path, of the long grass
Silent, but there all the same.

Some look to the sea.
An iron rod, yanked by a magnet
The irresistible tug of the moon
On man or wolf, gentle, relentless
Unheard, undetectable
Unseen, but there all the same.

Some look to the land.
They feel it, heavy on their shoulders
Gravity weighing on them alone
No burden though – inescapable joy
Oneness, connection, shared beginnings
Unprovable, but there all the same.