100 Thousand Poets for Change 2012

Today, 29 September 2012, is the day when 100 Thousand Poets for Change gather online, in person, and in print to celebrate poetry, art and music, and to promote social, environmental, and political change.

If you happen to be in Munich today, drop by the Munich Readery, the largest and friendliest secondhand bookstore in Germany. They will be hosting an evening of readings and performances from 19:00 – 22:00.

In observance of today’s 100 Thousand Poets for Change, I offer the following  prose poem: The Beach at Blakeney Point, first published in the North London Writers and Poets Anthology Gathering Diamonds from the Well, 2007.

The Beach at Blakeney Point

Hard as I try, I can’t recall the beach at Blakeney Point. Images blend and memories merge – this beach with that at Holkham, with Morston, Burnham Overy and Brancaster Staith.

I only see an expanse in my mental map, the horizon shimmer, Old Lifeboat House looking stern from afar. The salt marsh carpet, creeks, dunes and samphire. Now it is summer. Blue above and below, and the sharp pinpricks of the flying sand. Now it is winter. The saltings dim grey and dirty brown, freezing crystals on the scrub.

Hard as I try. My first walk to the Point fromCleyBeach. Before I knew about tide tables, I set off walking the deep shingle spit, bruising calves and blackening nails. I did reach the end, the sea and the tern’s nests. The feeling of space and the sense of infinity. The tide withdrew to sea while I rested, leaving casts of lugworms, deserts of sand behind. Buccinum and Hydrobia shells. Leaving the bottom of the sea to me. Its cruelty.

A baby seal washed up dead, lying in pools of water, alongside sparkling stones and Flustra fronds the colour of hope. Why, where is the…, what can I…? Too late. It was, I was, too late. I walked back barefoot, the seal receding with each step, ebbing away. The boom of the sea and the spray. The wind sculpted sounds, I licked salt off my lips.

Hard as I try. Sea holly, sandwort and sand sedge cling to shifting dunes. I can’t remember the beach at Blakeney Point. Only that seal, that wind, and my impotence.

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76/100 Days of Summer

For Blakeny Point, see here

The Beach at Blakeney Point, in Gathering Diamonds from the Well, ed. Brian Docherty, Laurence Scott, and Katie Willis (London: New Gallery Books 2007)