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    • As The Light Changes
      The East Anglian Daily Times ran an article entitled ’22 beautiful poems about East Anglia’ in their Saturday magazine insert on March 18th this year. I was very pleased to see this poem of mine on the same page as poems by Sir Walter Raleigh and George Szirtes. TO HEAR THIS POEM PLEASE CLICK ON […]
    • The Last Word
      By way of a change, here is a short piece of prose: In a writers’ group this morning we were challenged to write a short story in 150 words.  The story below contains exactly that number.   The light was starting to fade, and breaking soft waves seemed even quieter.  He stopped collecting pebbles and […]
    • Moving Hands
      How many things that  seemed eternal early in life, have completely vanished?                         TO HEAR THIS POEM PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW ABOVE   Sometime in the nineteen-fifties it perched on the hundred-foot workshop,  where Waitrose’s  entrance is now. It would pace the working lives of hundreds. […]
    • You know you are worth it
      I wrote this poem in mid November this year, then my e-mail inbox started to fill with ‘Pre-Black Friday’ offers, then ‘Black Friday’ offers, followed later by ‘Post Black Friday’ offers, and now I am seeing ‘Black Friday repeat offers’!  Reality has overtaken imagination.   TO HEAR THIS POEM PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE […]
    • Poems for a portrait
      I agreed to sit as the model again this morning for an art group producing portraits.  We had a cultural exchange as at the end of the two sessions as I recited the Haikus composed in my head during the forty minutes of the sitting.  I then exchanged a book of my poetry for the […]
    • Last Orders
      This poem won a ‘Commended’ award in the recent 2016 George Crabbe Poetry Competition.  The competition judge, Moniza Alvi, wrote of ‘Last Orders’ “Tragic and hard hitting, I found this poignant poem compelling.”  ” This is a poem with a real sense of urgency”. PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM […]
    • Irony
      During a few days in Liverpool we visited Crosby Beach, to see the Antony Gormley sculptures arranged as  ‘Another Place’.  Two friends had been examining the work, and turned to walk off the beach.  I took the photograph below, and the poem was written after I examined the image, using an  element of artistic license. ‘Communing’ […]
    • Illuminating Longing
      Here is a shared experience from the night of the full ‘Strawberry  Moon’ on June 20th.  A warm evening after a wet morning promised the sight of Nightjars hunting, and the moon was a bonus, PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   The mist quilt  slips across the sodden heath […]
    • Soon the Longing can begin
      Two days after the referendum, and still dazed by the result. PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   Soon the longing can begin, but the awareness of our loss will take longer for all to own. Already the Young feel despair for they were closer to hope than the wrinkled, […]
    • Deleting Footnotes
      This poem recently was selected by Helen Ivory for appearance in the poetry webzine  ‘Ink, Sweat and Tears‘, it also appeared the the Suffolk Poetry Society’s magazine ‘Twelve Rivers’. PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM   You can never prepare for this task. It demands no passion in the wrecking, just […]

Voices in the Reeds

The Blythburgh Estuary, such a wonderfully calm landscape, or is it?

reeds   estuary-walk-2

PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM

 

The Blyth snakes down to the brine

soothing our senses as it idly curls

grazing  past  tall murmuring reeds,

stirred to voice by a gentle breeze.

 

We mishear that chafing whisper,

since Sixteen forty it has moaned

the cursed name of Sir Robert Brooke

                   –  for this is  Bloody Marsh.

 

The miller, William Turrould, petitioned

 the King for years of the villager’s plight;

Squire Brooke had revoked their ancient rights

 and brutalised lives to claim Common ground.

 

But Walberswick villagers just wouldn’t yield.

The sea had left their harbour, and only labour

on the hungry heathland and difficult marshland

could feed bony stock and malnourished families.

 

To discourage village cattle from Paul’s Fen

Brooke barracked his men in a boarded-up  house

from where they emerged with several large dogs

to wound grazing cows and put them to flight.

 

For fighting and killing his paid ‘stout fellow’,

who had  harassed villagers and savaged their beasts,

three Walberswick men were hung at Brooke’s clamour.

He then yoked nature to ‘modern’ agriculture.

 

Heathland enclosure formed ‘the sheep walks’

an idyllic term that belied a brutal starkness

of invasive earth-banks, several feet tall,

 with which the  gentry stole the Commons.

 

Today Conservation has enclosed the Common

and chain-link fencing criss-crosses heathland

dissecting the sheep-walks for Natural England –

partitioning vast tracts, with hardly a comment,

 

except from the reeds – that ceaselessly murmur.

 

 

 

Main information source Bloody Marsh by Peter Warner, Windgather Press, published 2000.

 

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