Poem of the North 2.3

Again, I hope my response doesn’t seem too flippant or dismissive. I’m sure the Northumberland coast is indeed largely unspoilt (as I recall it from a couple of holidays back in the 90’s) but a straggling line of caesuras in a poem centred on the seaweed line of the shore couldn’t help but bring to mind my daily walks accompanied by a dog and a bin-bag that I began documenting recently (before my current hiatus on holiday in Cornwall) as @Sbwriel_Llanelli_Litter.

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Poem of the North 2.3

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Claire Lynn’s poem evokes what I’m sure for many of us who love the coast are familiar and loved experiences: walking along the tideline as the sea lifts again the seaweed it left there half a day ago; finding that special stone that reminds us of the time and place; but like all the best poems it goes beyond the familiar, and arrests us with that final image of ribs cracking like razor shells. I had my first surf lesson last week and took a blow to the chest from the fin of my board. Breathing in, that most automatic and commonplace of actions, took on a new-found fragility. It came as an unwelcome surprise, and my breaths came short and shallow and timid. The narrator of Claire’s poem, however, chooses to take in, with that inhalation everything that is seen and known and felt on that hinterland between earth and sea; to take it in to repletion.

(And then beyond…

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