The Marker

Low land, ebbing year;
pitched against the easterlies,
aiming at nowhere.

Behind the floodgate
and the half-tide basin, that
day-room drying out.

Slant wind. The dockside’s
walkways list and strain. Thin chains
link jetty to quay.

After the cold store,
the perimeter; bleached walls,
flaking containers.

Every inbound crate
has a seven-pointed star
marking its station.

First grey aggregate,
then black aggregate, then swathes
of black belt rubber.

The short tinsel stacks
of Saltend Chemicals Park
burning all weathers.

A railed-off lighthouse,
daymarks faded, pulse fading,
two steps, white on white.

Sunk Island’s dim frame.
The sea breaking the river,
losing the shoreline.

The courtesy path
is stuck. Feet catch in its course,
sink into its slack.

Squint from the north bank:
last freight leaving the night lanes.
A speck, then a blank.

Nothing to hold to
but the soak, the squall; each breath
stalling inside you.

Penance, purgation.
The double-barred porches of
Patrington Haven.

Neither west nor east:
stone and steel, lichen and crown,
the marker for nought.

Hull to Patrington, 31 December 2012

The Meridian, an essay recounting parts of this journey from Hull to Patrington, appears here. Click here to read Eastings, a prose account of the onward journey from Patrington to Hull (via Spurn Point).


2 Responses to The Marker

  1. spaceman says:

    A beautiful atmospheric piece, that sees the beauty and poetry in the bleakness. Like a Lowry?

  2. mark goodwin . gone ground says:


    ebbing against no
    where floodgate-tide drying the
    list to cold peri

    meter containers
    inbound seven marking grey/
    black belt tinsel chem

    ical’s weathers light
    house faded white island’s break
    ing shoreline courtesy-

    feet slack from freight then
    to soak inside purgation
    barred haven west steel


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