Posts Tagged Liverpool Bar


An exceptionally sunny, cloudless day

has packed Benllech Beach at low water

with hundreds of gaudy strangers. Meanwhile,

the pomp begins and ‘sacrifice’ is talked of

as if the lambs themselves had chosen it.


On the clear horizon, container ships

and oil tankers are hoved to, waiting

for high water so they can safely clear

the Liverpool Bar – a compacted sandbank –

something I have seen many times but

only now recall a great grand father,

retired from sailing ‘coffin ships’ to Boston,

was captain of the Bar lightship. He died

before the century turned so never saw

his oldest son earn his Master’s Ticket

nor learn he had chosen to go down

with his ship, torpedoed off Cape Verde.


As the waters rise the fainthearted leave.

The inexorable ships steer east.

The day will end with Sir Edward Grey’s

metaphor of the lamps made fatuous.




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I can see here the curvature and compass

of the world. From the embankment that

separates the enclosed, salt-water Marina –

crowded today with summer holiday

novice canoeists – from the Dee Estuary,

I can see, east, a hundred metres away,

The Promenade; south – beyond the dinghies

moored midstream, their halyards tinkling

in the steady breeze – the white cooling towers

and the cable-stayed bridge at Connah’s Quay;

west, Flintshire’s industrial shore rising

steeply into the green Clwydian Hills,

where a fire has begun in the gorse

and the bracken on Holywell Common;

north west, Hilbre, island of erstwhile

pilgrimage then commerce; north – beneath

the horizon where ships wait for high tide

to cross the Liverpool Bar – West Kirby’s beach,

stretching into a mile of sand flats that ends

where the distant waves break ashen and silent.




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