The Cold Tap Sings

the p-word

Tag: Sussex

NOTE FROM A JOURNEY BY TRAIN THROUGH [FLOODED] SUSSEX

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Note from a Journey by Train through [Flooded] Sussex

[Sea] gulls swimming in the field
a branch of the [holm] oak felled
speed restriction/s due to a land-
slide near Wadhurst “a godsend”
the monkey puzzle by the c/oast
[flocks of] sheep near Sevenoaks

THE MIRROR

Here’s a wordplay I recently wrote on the train from Eastbourne to London. On this journey you snake through the South Downs and skate across a floodplain on the approach to Lewes, where this poem is set.

***

‘The Mirror’

The mirror the rain left
mirrored the sky.
It mirrored the clouds
when they sailed
through the sky.
It mirrored the sun
when it smiled
through the clouds.
It mirrored the bird
when it thirstily
kissed
the mirrored bird.
And when the clouds
grew bigger and blacker
it was no longer a mirror.
Instead it was a glut of rain.

***

I was looking at a puddle and then I saw the sky. It goes without saying that this was inspired by the abysmal weather we’ve been subject to in Britain this summer. Go here for another poem about rain. And, if things continue in the same vein, stay tuned for another.

PICTURE POSTCARD

When the sun sets on Beachy Head the majority of the light disappears over the horizon leaving the downland in shadow. However certain rays still bend over the contours to pick out the light colours – the whites, yellows and violets. I had intended to write about the sunset for ‘Fathom’ and, luckily, today’s triggered the following lines.

***

‘Picture Postcard’

Wish you were here:
the cloud-bank
follows the curve
of the coastline
and the sunset,
like a stagehand,
dims the grassland
and picks out
the orchid,
the toadflax,
the cowslip,
the silvery wingtip
of the chalkhill blue.

***

The flowers mentioned towards the end of the poem all prosper on the South Downs. The chalkhill blue, pictured above, is a rare butterfly that flutters across them for a few weeks in late summer.

Read more sections from ‘Fathom’, my ongoing project about Sussex by the sea, here.

MORPH

So I spent the weekend down on the Sussex coast and it gave me the chance to do some concentrated writing and research into the new project I’m pretty excited about: ‘Fathom’. The idea is for it to be a longer poem (as in longer than my usual 1o lines!) about the sea and about Sussex – about Sussex by the sea. Here’s one of the sections in draft.

***

‘Morph’

Years ago
we were walking
boots bouncing
off the Seven Sisters’
soft turf
when a fresh
wreath of mist
rolled in
off the sea
to cloak us
in coolness.

Do you remember?

The sun shone down
as if through milk.

Then as quickly
as the dream-stuff
unfurled
it dispersed
and we danced through summer
once more.

***

Click on the tag below for previous drafts from ‘Fathom’. I’ll be posting more content soon, including an expanded version of ‘Salt-Blood’ (scroll down, or indeed click here).