On the Edge

Out here

The East Anglian landscape is so flat

That the curvature of Earth is apparent

And so here is not so flat at all

A world of its own

Even the sea moves on a different level

From beyond the dykes and shingle banks

Winds from North and East hold sway

Mighty oaks are bent to their will

Brow beaten in perpetual homage to Njord

This vast, sparse expanse

Denuded of shape

A dinner plate piled high

With sky


n.b. We are not alone; it just feels like that sometimes.

n.n.b. Njord was the Norse god of wind and sea, (and wealth).


I stood on the beach watching

It moved east, parallel to the shore

Bobbling on the sparkle of cat’s paws

Behind the forming swell of gentle breakers

A tern interrupted her flight to peer closer

Hanging just above in squealing hover


What it was I could not tell either

But curious, I walked to the foamy edge

My linen trousers rolled up to my knees

Advanced bare-foot, shin deep into the chill

It floated out beyond my reach

Elusive flotsam, mystery from the deep


n.b. Cat’s paws are a form of waves. They are capillary waves of a small scale that are pulled up from the surface of the sea by the wind and pulled back toward the surface by the meniscus, (surface tension of the water).

CLP 19/02/2020

On Portsmouth

Cramped together

On England’s island city

Flat, low vulnerable


n.b. A lively location as always, (and now quite lovable), but its topography suggests it has potential to become England’s Venice as sea levels rise.

n.n.b. Photograph taken from a screenshot from a newspaper website (www.theguardian.com) that used an image captured by a satellite sent up into near space in order to track hurricanes.

CLP 03/11/2019

The Test

Welled up through chalk; clear and bright

Mixed with floodplain mud

Strained through reeds

Her gentle curves

Restrained, contained within lines

Corsetted by stone, steel and concrete

She spills down the neck of Southampton Water

Runs to the welcome arms of the silent sea

Washed clean again on the double tide


n.b. The port at Southampton has developed over the centuries at a site that enjoys a double tide. 17 hours a day of rising water have long made it a home for commercial shipping.

The top of this coastal inlet is fed by two rivers, the Itchen to the east and the Test to the west. Both originate in the chalk downland and have stretches populated by rainbow trout that have historically thrived in the clear water.


CLP 10/08/09

Beach Day

Somebody said “It’s going to be sunny!”

We went to bed excited at the prospect

Each swimming in expectations whisked up with childhood memories

By morning, (time off already booked at the last minute) we drew back the curtains to steel grey sheets of cloud

To a steady pitter patter on a tin roof

To the cast iron bite of a northerly wind

“Highest temperatures today could touch eight degrees centigrade” said the radio station news anchor

We made our sandwiches, packed the car and set off to the seaside

To join the gulls and cormorants squinting through drizzle


n.b. British Public Holiday weekend

n.n.b. It turned out to be a beautiful day

CLP 04/05/2019