Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Estuary: A Poem by Pete Marshall


The Estuary
by Pete Marshall

The tidal surge that flows upstream
and creeps along through shallow creeks
the waders dip and search for food
as boats will rise from peaceful sleep

The sea will swirl across the banks
and fill the channels searching claws
that suck the souls of those who walk
upon the flats when tides no more

The cockle sheds still thrive with life
as wind blows through this busy wharf
and out to sea where boats once sailed
who gathered strength for England's cause

A walk beside this sheltered marsh
sees kestrels swoop upon their prey
and boats that sailed now gather mast
as tides will flow and drift away

***************

Today's poem is written about the small fishing village of Leigh - on - Sea, Essex, situated in the Thames Estuary. The artwork accompanying this is a pastel drawing by local artist Donna Cove.

I have known Donna for many years and her drawings are always a joy to behold. Donna however doesn't have a website so its been a great pleasure of mine to be able to show her piece "Abandoned" which was drawn on the marshes of Leigh on Sea.

Leigh is just down the road from me and is located on the marshes of the Thames Estuary. Recently it was nominated as the 2nd most desirable place to live within the UK. It has a great history, having been mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086. From here in 1940 a large flotilla of little boats were to depart and rescue British Troops from the beaches of Dunkirk. In 1620 the Mayflower was to dock here to take on provisions before beginning its epic voyage to the new world with the Pilgrim Fathers. In 1917 the famous writer H G Wells was to purchase a house here for his mistress, and John Fowles, author of the French Lieutenant's Woman was born here in 1926.

A walk down the cobbled streets of Old Leigh is a walk back in time. If you are ever visiting the UK it can be found, by train, about an hours journey from London.

32 comments:

Catherine Mackie said...

Hi Pete. you drew me right into that scene with your skillful writing. One thing that perplexed me is did you really mean 'souls' linked to feet or should it have been 'soles'? I know when one walks on wet seasand it kinda sucks at the soles of one's feet... The artwork made me think of my favourite place in the whole world Cintsa) in the eastern cape of South Africa. Thanks for the info regarding Leigh-on-Sea.

Pete Marshall said...

hi catherine....it was a deliberate play...yes the mud sucks on the soles of your feet but it also sucks the souls under!The mud bank can be very treacherous in parts. thanks for reading this and glad you enjoyed it...cheers pete

Brian Miller said...

nice word play pete///and nice piece of art from your friend as well...

penelopephoebe said...

A very evocative poem, Pete...beautiful as is the picture.

izzy said...

Really nice! I love the way you focus on many parts, zero in, pull back- it is a bit like the way we learn and explore; parts and pieces together make the whole. Thanks!

Caty said...

I love learning about your home, and your poetry adds even more zest. the artwork is fantastic as well.

Kerry O'Connor said...

You have certainly captured the spirit of place. After reading your commentary, I feel like packing my bags and setting forth on an adventure.

Dulce said...

I feel so much liek going there!

Boonie S said...

I really enjoyed your poem today, and the picture too.
I've visited Leigh-on-Sea a number of times, although none recently. It does have a lot to offer.

All the best, Boonie

haisley said...

Hi Pete!!! I love your poem.... You are really a good poet......

Claudia said...

wow pete - this is beautiful..your poem makes me wanna walk beside this sheltered marsh..this has a tidal feeling to it...the coming and going of the waves..the rhythm and some beautiful, beautiful lines like..and fill the channels searching claws..

great painting from your friend as well!

Reflections said...

Beautiful piece... describes well the feel of the estuary. Lovely picture of nature at its best.

dustus said...

Pete, the rhyme and cadence is perfect for the setting. The lines rock like the sea. "Sees kestrels swoop upon their prey" Killer line in a great piece; and Donna's drawing is lovely.

Myrna R. said...

I love the way you mesh your words to create such a vivid scene. Lovely. The painting is beautiful too, thanks for sharing it with us.

Your discription makes me want to go visit England. I was there much too long ago and know I would appreciate it differently now.

Hope said...

I was going to ask about the painting. Intriguing picture. I really like her style. thank you for showing her work.

your poem is absolutely beautiful. i love the rhythm and the imagery drew me in.

thank you for the bit of info. your poem and picture drew me in to a place i would so much like to be and the information made it that much more real. would love to visit this place.

thank you

hedgewitch said...

Nice mood piece, wistful, a bit dark, but also held up by that eternal something the seas is always giving us. Enjoyed it, and the illustration as well.

annell said...

I liked it very much! Thanks

moondustwriter said...

Donnas work is a joy to behold indeed. In turn it inspires wonderful poetry.
Exceptional poem Pete - love the history attached
I hope we see more collaboration with Donna's fine work

great stuff as always mon ami

smiles from the moon

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

Pete, your writing and your friends art are so perfect together. It's as if they were created side by side.

I just loved your playful use of souls :)

Beachanny said...

Another excellent piece. This one was like a painting and your friend's artwork expanded it. We have kestrels at our beach too. .. darting so quickly around. Maybe Diane and I can make a daytrip there in Jan. I love the sea in winter. The colors are "soulful". Thank you for sharing this with us. Gay

Pete Marshall said...

hi and thankyou all for your wonderful comments....i will also forward all your praise on to donna who will be very pleased to hear this....cheers pete

Shashi said...

Dear Pete

If I had seen this painting and read your words before, I would have been there last year when I visited Bath and London. Any ways I look forward to it when I make a visit again, because after reading your words, I feel like I have been there... Such is your words, create such a beautiful experience for the reader... thanks.

Your friend Donna Cove's painting have a very distinctive style, sublime yet very evocative... specially with the way, she brought out the lost beached boat, like a soul stuck in the living... want to be free, moving and sailing.. but stuck with living.. thanks for sharing such a wonderful work...
I immensely enjoyed both the works..

Thanks for sharing...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

Maureen said...

You create the scene so wonderfully in the poem. Your commentary is always a pleasure to read. Donna Cove's work is lovely.

Tina said...

This was just lovely! I grew up enjoying an estuary of my own, the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, US. Your words brought back wonderful memories, and smells, and feelings of peace. Your friend's work is quite wonderful. I wish her well in her craft.

Miranda said...

Great poem! It made me think that people and events may come and go but life still goes on.
I will be sure to visit your town if I ever get the chance to cross the pond!

Aquarius63 said...

Wonderful expression and imagery with an easy smooth flow.

Anita.

YJastBlake said...

Beautifully written, it captures you with such a warm embrace & so makes me want to visit. The picture compliment nicely, thank you for sharing ;)

Carlus Wilmot said...

Hi, I truly admire your skill as a writer, the flow is great, the imagery is fantastic and the word choices are very very good. Hope to stop again soon...

Cor said...

Beautiful poem Pete. I also loved the wordplay. I appreciate the spotlight on your friend Donna. I wish she had a website and twitter because I would share her talent in a heart beat. Donna if you see this, you are a very talented artist. Thank you for sharing Pete.

Short Poems said...

Hi Pete.
I enjoyed your poem and the beautiful picture of nature!
All the best
Marinela x

Pete Marshall said...

thanks for the wonderful comments and i will be only too pleased to pass these on as I hope it encourages here to get that website up and running...i also intend to show more of her work in the new future....cheers Pete

Anonymous said...

so cool to go to a good blog and read the present