RYE HARBOUR SUMMER SOLILOQUY

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RYE HARBOUR SUMMER SOLILOQUY
1 Rye Harbour basks this sunny summer morning
The river Rother already all bled out
Following the departing tide far out to sea
Leaving assorted sea craft specked in the distance
And seagulls dancing on the just-bled riverbed
Digging for scallops and mussels
Then dropping them from high
Onto the concrete bunker and the asphalt walkway
To shatter and split
Before feasting on the fresh flesh thus exposed

2 On the horizon, Dungeness chimney stacks
Rise like piss-horns from the sand
And Camber Sands arcs wildly round the bay
Flat as the Gobi desert
On any given day
And lurking behind this bucolic scene
The wind farm at Romney Marsh can be seen
Turbines propellers lazily turning
Barely generating enough power
To make a pot of tea, or so it would seem

3 Overlooking it all is the town of Rye
Stately and high, with its ruined castle on the hill
Much loved by the king with eight wives
Though nearby Camber Castle, also in Henry’s demesne,
Still sits marooned between land and sea
Doomed for centuries a bridesmaid to remain

4 Nearby squats the Mary Stanford lifeboat station
A monument to that fateful date
When seventeen crewmen tracked across the saltmarsh flats
For one last time in nineteen-twenty-eight
Searching for a phantom ship
They found a cold and watery grave instead

5 Sandwort, Curlew, Couch Grass and Stork’s Bill
Cardoon, Sea Kale, Cormorant and Sea Purslane
Egret, Sea Pea, Lapwing and Marsh Frog
Compete for space in what some might see
As just another piece of swamp or bog
But neither bog nor swamp truly can describe this place
So full of the genomes of our diverse race
A million years will not have altered
Its make-up or genetic shades
Our DNA is mapped out here in spades.

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