The not seen sea
Under cliff, under white chalk, Under Hooken
we walk down the throat of the harts tongue
and talk. Our boots are glossed with clever ivy.
Overgrown, overhead and soft under old man’s beard,
bosomy June leans down on us, up close
to cyclical drift, centimetre shift of earth.
While, sunk in its cage of feathers, a blackbird rots,
deflates into the flint step down to the beach.
Shingle rumbles in our ears. It hisses, passes, as we
wind the path between the cliffs, and only now
and then we catch the hill-high lurch of chalk in mist.
Keen in the nose, the salt and fret of sea.
All the while we twist a flint descent by rungs
of ivy root, and all the while a thrush repeats
repeats its song to coil to coil inside our ears.
And another blackbird sings, so blackbird answers it
in audible waves. By our feet a chasm of ash and fog.
Low in our bones, not visible, churrs the sea.
Here is a poem about Vision, my offering to National Poetry Day 2020. It began on a walk along the undercliff at Hooken in Dorset in a rolling, swaying sea fog. My view was of only the near-at-hand, which became the more vivid and strange. Our other senses worked harder. I thought about all that we can’t see, all that is invisible. And what we find instead.
The poem is published in my latest collection ‘How Time is in Fields‘ (IDP, 2019).