I walk out on to the strand
the only person around,
my shoes sinking some way
in to the fine washed sand. The world of the town
is stacking high behind me
like multi-coloured pieces
of sweet rock and bubble gum with the long line of beach huts
parading before them –
those little homes for the English
never wanting for their English tea and comic newspapers
which they still read and believe.
But none of them are here now.
I’m looking out to the flat horizon, a line of dark blue beyond
this stretch of local turquoise sea.
Somewhere around here,
maybe even on this easterly shore, my DNA must have arrived
via Angle, Cimbri and La Tene,
a strand on this strand
in these islands afar.
copyright Francis Barker 2019
Recently we spent a few days in Northern Ireland.
We were based in Belfast, an up and coming city with a proud industrial heritage, particularly in ship building. It was here, of course, where the legendary ocean liner, The Titanic was built.
In more recent times, though, Belfast has been blighted by what was called ‘The Troubles’. Thankfully, those days are long gone but the scars remain. I won’t talk about those times right now.
No, I want to talk about the County Antrim coast road, which takes you around the northern tip of the island of Ireland.
I have scarcely seen such beauty, anywhere; the fantastic vistas out to sea, atmospheric views across to Scotland and the Mull of Kintyre; the wonderful, secluded, almost deserted beaches.
And then of course sensational spots like the Giants Causeway.
In fact, words almost fail, except to say that property sales particulars were consulted. Simply wonderful.
There will be more pictures to follow in future pieces on the fabulous little corner of the world.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
When I look down toward the beach,
the distant pier seems to stride
forward from the shining sea.
I like to look beyond,
to the bands of turquoise and blue,
an ocean painted in bold,
Why are we drawn to the waves?
Those elemental rhythms,
sounds and colours
of a primary world,
where sparse pointillist spots
busy themselves on
Some days the morning
unfolds through mists,
groynes spacing out
the distances along the strand,
until a final fade-out,
well before the sea
can meet the sky.
Overhead, pterodactyl shapes
patrol against fresh patches
of blue. As I approach,
the blurred semblances
of buildings appear, rectangles
feathered violet or grey,
as if stepping off the cliff.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019, 2011
There’s a picture
it’s been hanging on my wall You know it tells a story the truth of it all
Now it’s time to tell you
with the sun streaming in After all the silent years I should begin
For love is like the summer time
in the northern lands This cold barren soil through my hands:
And we shall never pass this way
So how long did she stand? I don’t know.
Waiting – those poor women – for a tall mast to show
Yes, he was a treasure
fresh flowers in the jar Cap in hand, feet ten and two like an evening star
Most nights she takes the air
down by the sea Out there she can feel him where the ocean sets her free
For love is a precious time
a sacred space Give into the water and its healing grace
And we shall always have this day
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
The North Norfolk Coast near Wells Next the Sea. When I used to paint (I’m hardly picking up a brush these days), I found the North Norfolk coast in eastern England to be most inspirational.
There is something about the quality of the light, perhaps because it is north facing. There is a strong ‘elemental’ feeling to the whole area which is difficult to put into words.
I am not alone in this of course. It is a popular tourist destination, is home to much wildlife and many want to relocate there. The house prices in certain parts have skyrocketed in recent years.
But that can’t stop us visiting. I think I shall have to return soon and who knows – maybe I will be inspired.
Summer is not far away, fickle though it may be in England’s northerly reaches.
To us as children the good days were glorious; down at the beach the sun was our friend, the sea and sand our playmates through the days which would last forever. Eternity was within our reach – then.
In reality nothing much has changed, only our perception of reality.
paintings by Francis Barker
Spring finally comes, like your
warm breath on my
desiccate skin. So then
sing to me of careless summers,
your smile, where
© copyright David F. Barker 2013