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Tag Archives cormorant


In the old stone house above the harbour,

however well sealed the windows are

against the rain and the wind, squalls invade

the chimneys and blow in the empty hearths.

The lamp at the end of the quay still shines

despite the waves spilling over the wall

and agitating the tethered lobster creels.


A surge douses the light – but wild clouds part

and a full moon shines on a sea running high.

Abruptly the turbulent clouds close –



The garden is busy today. A robin

and a wren appear to be nesting.

The noisy blackbirds certainly are.

We are preparing for the partial eclipse

with the pinhole cameras we have made

from paper plates. In the event –

on the first day of spring – the sun is veiled,

as if by wisps of smoke, so we can glance

directly at the moon’s crossing, at this

dark geometry. There is excitement

in neighbouring gardens – and, over the road,



The most senior staff had their offices
at one corner of the building, stacked
one above the other. From their desks,
through one of their three sets of long windows,
they could watch the tidal river’s ebb and flow
and the decline of the salmon. If they stood
at another they could see upstream
to the medieval sandstone bridge – the river
susurrating beneath its arches –
and, beyond, the meadows prone to flooding.

Like most county halls it was an empty
rectangle. Of those with their own offices –



‘Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound…and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.’ Leviticus 25:9 & 25.10


Much of the chapters and footnotes of England’s,

though not Britain’s, history are scribed here

in stone and iron – Roman Walls, Norman weir,

marshalling yards – the rest is on paper,

of course, and from hearsay. It is said,

for example, for Victoria’s Jubilee,

in our street,



Nuns clambered on the headland. Like scarabs,

they traversed the sage slope of limestone

to the hermit’s shrine. Marine creatures, landlocked,

awaited the sea’s coming. The poet

descended by funicular to the bay’s

elegant crescent of hotels. Mists

trailed the foothills of distant peaks. In saloons

of bevelled mirrors, his comrades sang

marching songs. A love poem formed like breath.


He crunched on innumerable pebbles.

Waves gasped and sighed, smoothing the wooden groynes.

Two aircraft,