Blyth Estuary Evening

There is a wonderful walk along the line of the old narrow gauge railwayline to Southwold, where it runs alongside the Blyth estuary.  I led a walk for a group of poets there this year, and this was one of the poems that I read on the walk.  We had a very enjoyable workshop after lunch, which produced some good writing.

Marsh Harrier hunting – image by courtesy of RSPB



Subtle change at early evening

a sly breeze rides with the tide

rustling through the reed bed

like gossips spreading scandal.

Butter-light softens leaden mud

polishing the foam-flecked edging.

Probing bills quit before the creep

as brackish water reclaims its land.


Slowly rising from wizened willows

a young Marsh Harrier tries a sortie

along the reed lined drainage channel

to tease a Bittern  guarding the edge

until the sentry’s bayonet thrusts.

Recalling  hunger the Harrier lifts

float-flapping over quivering heads

scattering silence in its it shadow.


On the water meadow’s mist-quilt

taut grey stillness briefly erupts

 a Hanser spears a careless  Jakie –

double head-jerks a beak-full of legs

then ambles forward like a tired cleric .

Slowly rising water weeps at the bank

where Water Voles once made holes

and foraged gently in the foliage.



Two Suffolk dialect words in this poem:

‘Hanser’ is a Heron, and ‘Jakie’ is a Frog.



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