From this house on its hill the sea appears,

through a gap in the trees two fields away,

like a wall  – grey, green, blue: the horizon

straighter than any true line in nature.


A spider perhaps two millimetres long

has spun a web in the outside corner

of a window frame. It catches flies twice,

thrice its size daily. Our granddaughter

and I monitor it before breakfast.


The bullocks see us and, curious like

all young creatures, trot over. Jostling

slightly, they lift their heads above the wall.

We can smell their sweet, grassy breaths, look

into their large chocolatey pupils, see

the pristine nap of their hides, count the flies

clustered round their tear ducts.


A south westerly is billowing the rain

like wispy smoke across the pastoral fields

and shimmying the woods of tall trees

in their finery like underwater weeds.

The sodden wide sandy beaches out of sight

beyond the shallow gap in the trees

have witnessed immemorial shipwrecks.


As the bullocks will, the web has gone.

She is too young to think of the past as past.

Spider and flies and the web’s almost straight lines

will be etched like dry points pristinely.





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  1. #1 by Ian Craine - December 28th, 2016 at 09:50

    Such rich imagery here. You are a fine chronicler of the natural world, David.

  2. #2 by Sarah - December 28th, 2016 at 20:53

    As always, evocative and because we were actually there too, very real. I love the reference to ‘underwater weeds’ which immediately brought to mind a scene in one of my fave films (sadly not The Third Man!) but Night of the Hunter and poor Shelley Winters dead and bound in the river….

  3. #3 by Mary Clark - December 29th, 2016 at 23:47

    “She is too young to think of the past as past.” That’s a wondrous time. But the poem also tells us these moments will pass, and it’s just a great juxtaposition of two time frames, complete with immemorial shipwrecks and vanished bullocks and spiderwebs. I was envious of this place, too; can you wish me a home by the sea?

  4. #4 by Nilanjana Bose - January 7th, 2017 at 08:40

    Always a pleasure to visit here. Particularly enjoyed this one. The imagery is luminous and engaging.

    A very happy 2017 to you.

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