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
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).
Squall whisks waves abeam
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.
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.
“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