Equinox – Autumn

Thickened by the tired air

Sticky with ripened fruit

Slow, pitch black, distorted, stretched

Beyond recognition

These shadows of ours

Run out

Black rivers

Bleeding the last of summer’s heat

From our veins

Onto the misted ground

Into the thin air of autumn

Warmth no longer from within

We become reptilian

Bask on the cool stones

Of an empty beach

Where the skin-deep solar glow

Drains with the ebb tide

We hold the last of harvest gold

In our joined hands


CLP 20/09/2019



Aloft on a waft

To drop mollusc on shingle

Did gulls teach or learn?


n.b. It is fascinating to watch gulls and crows rise 3 or 4 metres on the breeze with the intention of dropping a shelled shore-dweller onto the pebbled beach repeatedly until the shell cracks open and the meaty interior is accessible. When I mentioned this to my step-father, Frank Hawes, I had presumed the seabirds got the idea first. He said, “Maybe the gulls copied the crows.”

CLP 03/01/2019

Sea Defences

Can you hear them?

Through the rain

Distinct from rushing breakers

Un-natural metallic

Clanks, clanging, rattles, clunks

A pile-driver knocking in new posts

Mechanical digger scraping shingle

Down on the beach

As tides permit

To a generator’s constant beat

Under floodlights

Trying to stave off darkness

As well as the inexorable rise of the oceans.


CLP  19/12/2018

The Fisherman

Walking the dog on the only dry day of the week

East along the beach with the tide reluctantly rolling backwards

A two layer skein of brent geese speed past going west

From Clymping toward Pagham Harbour’s muddy grazing

Seen then gone in two minutes or less

The geese and full sun wake him and memories tumble out

Walking in step, we negotiate the dripping, barnacled groynes

His black labrador begging for attention with a new found sodden tennis ball

As he tells me of his life fishing

Not a word about his work from which he retired

Black bream, flat fish, eels and the Sargasso Sea

A memory of bait from a single rock pool that would last a day’s fishing

He has a boat and goes out when he can

He is still that boy who’d run from Woodingdean to Rottingdean to fish

There’s been talk of a move inland when he gets older, but he will

Never grow old, nor move from the sea.


CLP 30/11/2018