Step Lightly

Step lightly on this coastal strip, and watch

for the sucking, shifting salt-and-pepper sand.

Watch, too, for the rising, curling breaker,

the cliff’s overburden, twitching in space on a rusting wire.

This beach reaches in a frown for a town’s light

and its majesty is its plainness and its wheeling birds.

It was here, dug deep in grey driftwood, I etched

a name: a declaration by the licking water, and

where the salted grass hangs low.

I fancy now it’s gone;

set free by circumstance and time

4 thoughts on “Step Lightly

  1. I agree with Susannah, John. That image of the rusting wire ‘twitching’ up there on the bluff catches the mind. How many of us have scratched such names; I go and have a look on a sandstone cliff I’ve known since childhood for my brother’s name he dug out (deeply I thought then) some 40 years ago. Sometimes I imagine I can still see it there. Love that line about the ‘beach reach(ing) in a frown for a town’s light’; I was trying to write something like this a while ago, but couldn’t find the words – look like you found them!

  2. Beautiful imagery here – I especially love;

    ‘Step lightly on this coastal strip, and watch

    for the sucking, shifting salt-and-pepper sand.

    Watch, too, for the rising, curling breaker,

    the cliff’s overburden, twitching in space on a rusting wire.

    This beach reaches in a frown for a town’s light’

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