Only the highest tides reach this small island’s
sandstone rocks. A collar of flaxen sand
surrounds it. A quarter of a mile north
is Middle Eye. A hundred yards further
is Hilbre, habitation of hermits,
custom’s officers, weather stations.
These three are rugged, stony outcrops
in the mouth of the estuary.
Leaving West Kirby’s suburban promenade,
we had walked, at low water, to Little Eye
across the Dee’s hard, striated sands.
Westward is Wales, and the redundant lighthouse
at Point of Ayr, and, beyond and looming,
Llandudno’s Great Orme like the dragon’s head
the Norsemen named it for. Here is the earth’s
sweep, our planet’s generous curve and grasp.
Nearer, on West Hoyle Bank, a colony
of maybe thirty, forty grey seals
has hauled out, dark shapes only at this distance –
their calls plaintive as gulls’, chesty, guttural.
In the channel between – filling with tide –
two kite surfers skim noisily into sight.
The giant sails swell, billow, with chancy air.
The seals begin to stir. We are tiny
on the arc of the world.
Great OrmeHilbreLittle EyeLlandudnoMiddle EyeNorsemenPoint of AyrWalesWest Hoyle BankWest Kirby.