Spray stings our eyes.
Crouched by the sea wall
we watch the waves break,
creamy, hissing, as they
rake back pebbles with a sound
like thousands clapping.

Later, fought to a finish,
the undertow retreats,
the sea smooths out its folds,
finds equilbrium
like wine poured in a glass.

Baked in sunlight
the harbour stinks of weed,
dead fish, marine oil.
Gulls strut the mud
like greedy pillagers after battle.

The beach is blank
scraped clean
blanching at each step.
Later it will be a palimpsest of stories –
a dog’s paws printed shallower
and wider as it runs;
a sandcastle, untenanted
and fallen into disrepair –
and gulls’ webs pressed like leaves
into the sand.

Try another poem here

Side effects




From the rock, a miracle.
Water, the colour of sky,
cold as the caverns
it came from, glittering
into the morning world
and down the hill.

Wily as a cat, it twists
and splits round shingle banks.
Shape-shifter scooping deep
still pools for trout to laze in.

Gathers to itself the becks and burns,
the brooks, the runnels and the rivulets,
puts on muscle, hurls its berserker howl
against the valley walls then
cleaves a crack, one man might leap,
and bludgeons a way through.

A sheet of sliding amber takes
the evening light, transforming it
to gold, imparts a fine polish
to wet stones and fronds of weed.

The Lake – mid January


It hits you as soon as you turn the corner onto the lakeside- a slap in the face, a roaring, howling, never ending exhalation which takes away your breath, presses against your eyeballs. But that’s just the bassline. The wind shrieks and screams round the houses,upturning dustbins and flinging litter against the windows. It rips through the trees like a steel comb; twigs tumble onto the path around you, and the taller trees thrash to and fro. Half way round a tree has fallen- the thickness of a man’s torso and thirty or forty feet high. The root ball has been right ripped out of the earth; one of the lower branches has been torn off, leaving a garish orange scar.

The lake looks as though it is boiling. Waves collide and splinter as the wind direction changes. It has overflowed on the far side. Trees which were twenty yards from the water yesterday are surrounded by it now. There are few birds on the lake. Half a dozen greylag geese shelter in a little inlet by the sluice gate; a single gull pushes hopelessly into the wind and then ( like the Ted Hughes poem) “ bends slowly, like an iron bar.”

We have the lake to ourselves, the dog and I, and he is not happy. This is not what the world should be like. He looks pleadingly at me.
“ Do you want to go home ?”
He turns round and dashes off, tugging on the lead.