Sunday, November 10, 2013

Brent Geese

This poem was exclusively written for Shorelines: the literary festival of the sea, Leigh on Sea, November 2013

A midnight pitch on
cadent mud,
the undulating seabed
painted silver by the 
cannonball moon.
Ten thousand crane-necked souls,
ten thousand barking calls,
twenty thousand cold-splayed claws;
twenty thousand wings.
Dogged by wind and tundra,
they sleek across Siberia to
winter with us.
Two thousand five hundred miles;
a pilgrimage, a mission,
to settle feathers in our Estuary
as they always have done, through time.
Stoop-backed trees bend,
elderly and stiffened by the years,
reaching out a crutch of branch-arm
lending an ear to the throng.
The landscape is monochrome -
a yearly welcome of grey to the birds,
for a night-watch of clamour and
blare.
From the Arctic to our 
little hum of home,
they will do this again,
they will do this again,
backlit by steelworks and
ship lights,
cosying up on mud and saltflat
buoyed by samphire pillows and
every year it plays the same. We welcome them,
our tourist horde,
with open wings
and an open ticket,
to come again next time.

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