A WALK BY THE SEA IN SPRING

Early one morning
I walk along the clifftops
of chalk. The sea far below
hardly moving,
bright blue, like the motionless sky;
full of the promise of a beautiful day.

No one is along these fields
high above the sea,
except the newly arrived swallows,
sweeping low,
the screaming herring gulls
and the cawing crows
nesting high on the crumbling cliffs.
I feel so well
I try jogging, tentatively.

A young farmer appears
in a faded blue T shirt;
his black and white sheepdog
runs over
and crouches at my feet.
‘Good morning,’ the farmer shouts.
‘It’s going to be a beautiful day!’

He has planted
a raised Devon bank
with ash, rowan, hawthorn and elder.
Already it’s full of wild flowers:
red and yellow poppies,
little blue Forget-me-nots,
snapdragons, yellow, red, pink and maroon,
parsons-in-the-pulpit,
white cow parsley and stitchwort,
amongst sturdy dock, nettles, and hog weed.

And then I see the shrine
of words and cut flowers,
pebbles and bits of stained
glass and broken mirrors.
To a young man
who jumped off this high cliff
on this chalky Jurassic coast
facing the Channel
on a beautiful day.

 

 

Peter Marshall
Photographs by Elizabeth Ashton Hill


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One Response to A WALK BY THE SEA IN SPRING

    1. Brilliant pictures and reflective text mirroring a world of contradictions; highs and lows; joy and tragedy; human and animal connection

      Comment by Pam Smith on 10 June, 2020 at 7:23 pm

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