Here where the creek divides,
this desolate borderland between
the future and the past…
Now is the perfect moment
to abide in the liminal
as we await the vaccine
and the new normal –
whatever that means.
Grey sky, grey water, yellow marsh;
it is quiet here but for the cowbell-clatter
of rigging from the boatyard.
I’m sat on the bank, held by the spell
of the gigantic pylon across the creek;
as the homely scent of woodsmoke wafts
from the dormant pub behind me.
The tide turns and the tumid river
softly slips under itself.
The landlord sells beer in plastic milk bottles
from under a white awning outside his pub,
clinging to his way of life
as the sea-levels rise and threaten to drown
all of this.
This place, once so busy with imports
and exports, now only harbours
leisure vessels that loll languidly on the swell.
They found an iron-age longboat here once.
The distant rumble reminds me that
now the lorries have taken over.
We wheeze when we walk by the depot
at the other end of the creek;
that concrete expanse that roars
with diesel trucks
that deliver too much
of everything –
whose hydraulic screams drown out
birdsong in the nearby reserve.
So here we are, all masked and
re-breathing our stale exhalations.
They say that grief manifests in the body
as disease of the lungs.
I sit and wait on Hollowshore
for news we’re out of the woods.
I’m not sure if that’s the curlews’ calls I hear,
or the whimpering world herself.
© Bea Lehmann 2020