Last Ports

A container port
shadows the marsh flats. White sails
flit between sea walls.

The port overlooks
the marsh. The path tilts. The marsh
overlooks the port.

An unfinished road.
Beyond it: sunken kerbstones
and a new estate.

Next to a household
waste collection site, a church:
The River of Life.

Fragments of rainbow
caught between white cloud. Yet here
no rain has fallen.

The pier is chained up.
The comedians are gone.
The tide is stretched out.

The ferryman paid,
we alight on a rain-lashed
and creaking slipway.

MOD compound.
Rabbits halt, break and scatter
on this riddled ground.

Near dusk. Shingle Street.
Strange grasses on a stone beach.
Where will I find sleep?

A sunken pill-box,
looming in the withered light,
bids me make my bed.

Lost on the marshes.
The path regained, HMP
Hollesley ahead.

Every lane is dark.
I pick out Orion’s belt
from the firmament.

Lie between two bales
of hay in a moonlit field.
At 3, numb with cold.

Chillesford. First light.
2 caravans on church ground.
2 men keeping watch.

Sunrise on Orford.
A rowboat drifts on currents.
Speedboats cut across.

Iken Church. Insteps
seized, then stopped. Boots gnaw and chafe.
Bare soles on black sands.

No windows. No doors.
Even the frames are broken
in this beach shelter.

At the promenade
waking to night cramps, shaking
teeth, tightening skull.

Private roads are marked
clearly with signs and fences.
Public paths less so.

Heavy cloud. No moon
lights the map. I lose my way
in Haven Reserve.

Welcome to Sizewell
Christian Conference Hall.
Private Grounds. Keep Out.

Dunwich before dawn.
Through wind and drear, 3 lights burn
on the horizon.

On the outskirts of
Britain’s Most Easterly Town
a derelict school.

Felixstowe to Lowestoft, 28-30 August 2010 

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