RUNNING FULL

 
 
LAVERNOCK


Last evening of summer -

the caravan park busy -
 

    Devil's Bit Scabious, blackberries,

bright briony beads, old man's beard

      on the cliff


Gleaming slits of water,

silhouette of Sully

nosing out - beach rocks,
 

smoothed pebbles, rounded bricks,
 
      dry mud crack patterns,
 
    slab strata & fossils -
 
2 tankers chasing the tide into Cardiff
 
 
 
 
 
AUTUMN, SULLY-BARRY

 
Stinking iris
grinning red,
    cliff trees & bushes
        wind-shaped
 
Smell of seaweed,
smell of salt
    like a lover's

        licked skin

 
Low tide on
the jumble-slab beach,
    fishermen
        all in a line
 
yet each alone
with tripod & line
    each bent
        to his task
 
like a lone gull
like that small boat
    out on the
        misty water
 
The line like a lover's/licked skin is stolen from Trezza Azzopardi - 'The smell of the
foreshore, of a lover's licked skin', from THE HIDING PLACE
, Picador, 2000.
 
 
 
 
 
Sunday morning, out to Sully

 
Sunday morning, out to Sully
in thick mist, down the slipway,
waterworld, heaving seaweed,
anguished screams of unseen shorebirds,
water and sky seamlessly pealescent,
gentle waves forming out of nothing
 
- the air so still
 
 
 
 
 
BOTANISING AT WEST ABERTHAW

 
On the beach
 
        concrete cubes -
 
anti-tank defences
 
            undermined - tilting
 
                    at crazy angles -
   
    and smashed, so you can see
 
        how they were made -
 
pattern of board shuttering,
 
    concrete on the outside,
 
        large beach stones inside,
 
            angle iron for
 
                reinforcement
 
- one gashed open, a cave
 
    of herbrobert
 
Long lines of them,
 
    derailed boxcars boxcars boxcars -
 
        chuffing me off to Dachau

 
Some you can walk on
 
    like a path -
 
        looks like JARROW
 
inscribed in one -
 
    anyone alive
 
        who worked on these?
 
Echoed by haybales
 
    stacked up in the field behind -
 
rectangles not cottonreels -
 
        the lost summers of WW2
 
A green tractor with yellow wheels
 
    Ragwort in front of the power station
 
        The beach
 
                lush & barren
 
  shoes & crates & driftwood &
 
                      doll limbs
 
      Yarrow in front of the power station
 
Low sloes
 
    flat to stones
 
          Thistle, hawkweed, fennel in front of
 
      the power station
 
              & look - there it is,
 
    pink seedhead, white flowers,
 
        Parsley Water Dropwort!
 
 
 
 
 
THE OGWR AT OGMORE

 
Walkers human & canine
mirage-reflections in the wet sand
 
tide way out
but the river running full
 
curving course to the beach
 
oystercatcher flies
downriver
 
redshank, turnstone
 
great black-backed gull's
unhurried survey
 
short, sweet turf

of the saltings*

 
horses running over
the Merthyr Mawr dunes
 
    *Mary Gillham, SAND DUNES, 1987, p. 4.
 
        Upriver a bit, I'm sure
        are (or were) some stepping stones.
        There's a white house
        on the water's edge
        which may be Portobello.
 
    The Via Julia road leading down the dry Pant Marie Flanders Valley in the east to
cross the Ogmore at Broad Ford near Portobello, continued through the dunes to

Newton at that time, but was buried before the end of the Sixteenth Century under

sand 13 feet (4m) deep.

                                      
Mary Gillham, SAND DUNES, p. 3.
 
    We almost certainly found the site of the Little West Hotel (now a new block of
flats) on the cliff at Southerndown. The fields of short grass where we gathered
mushrooms for the hotel breakfast, and the stone walls, look exactly as I remember
them from family holidays in the 1950's.
 
    Strangely passive and dream-like and disjointed - that's the film-maker's view of

memory.

              
(Written after seeing Terence Davies' film DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES.)
 
 
 
 
 
MERTHYR MAWR, AFTER RAIN

 
The Ogwr's running full

    over sand & pebble...

 
Black Rocks
        along the beach -
    barnacled conglomerate,
            tilted pavement,
smoother quartz-streaked limestone.
 
Up the shingle bank
        & into Merthyr Mawr -
    dark cloudberries,
            dark clouds,
small snails on every stem.
 
Sand and grasses, sand and
        grasses - the first storm
    of autumn flooding the hollows,
            a chain of lakes
cutting even the higher paths.
 
Privet bushes in the water,
        streams rushing along -
    a hint of Ophelia
            floating in the meads
but it's flowers of autumn now -
 
yellow and white,
        evening primrose,
    eyebright, euphorbia,
            ragged ragwort -
a woodpecker gives half a yaffle,
 
a buzzard cries
        over the water,
    a grey, coiled adder,
            absorbing meagre warmth,
slides, wary, into the undergrowth.
 
The Ogwr's running full...

 
 
      Phil Maillard 2009