Solway Poems

Stake-Lines

i

This string of stakes
sticking out of solway sand,
they are like the ribs,
of some great leviathan,
that, having spawned,
beached itself and died,
out of empathy perhaps,
with the salmon
that its skeleton
now traps.

ii

If I stand here
very still,
and use an auditory knife
to cleanse this carcass
of unwanted flesh,
I am left with
the harsh death rattle
of the wind as it scrapes
past sinewed rope,
and the flip-flapping
of the seaweed
that clings
like dry, dead skin.
Our History

Our history,
tidal as the Solway,
is washed up on
these bays and estuaries.
A library
that requires
only our time
and inclination
to pause and browse.

Scattered here and there,
revealed at low tide,
the nets and poles
of stake-nets,
are the webs and spines
of old books,
and the rush of the sea
seems but the ruffle
of our pages.
Solway Stakenets

Waves curl
like commas
around stakes
that stand
stark as runes
against a 
vellum sky.

Above the
murmur of
the Solway
rise the
chants of
the Norsemen
as they ride
the white horses.


Low Tide, Powfoot

( i )
 
At Powfoot
The sea is a memory,
Shimmering silver
On the edge of vision.

On the bared sands
A horse and rider
Gallop to nowhere
In particular.

It is just
An opportunity
To run, and run
Before the tide turns.

( ii )

Soon enough
The sea will come,
To wipe the shore clean,
Begin again.

There are no half tides
With the Solway,
All or nothing
Has always been the way.

To know this place
Is to read the sands.
Horse and rider will wait
For another chance.



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