Lindisfarne is Just Across
His spirit is there,
And I’d like a few words
But his bones are adored now
Under an ornate pile of masonry
On a bend high above the Wear.
His spirit is not far. Just over there
Across a couple of miles of mudflat,
Over the singing seals.
There’s nowt between Cuthbert and me
Save the gathering tide of disbelief
That smothers the footprints of Cuddy’s duck
And man, as though they never did exist.
Families of geese bell in
From Spitzbergen, and are pleased
To find a few bits of seagrass,
But it’s pizza for me.
I’d better switch the oven on,
And give up gazing at stranded sea dragons
And frosted kelp, and seamarks stood about
Like totems of pagan priests.
A tide of change sweeps in and smothers
The tiny twitterings and haunted tickings of black ooze
And the stillborn burrowings of billions.
Now in the dying light across the flood –
The flight of birds, the cries, the beat of wings:
Eider, Sheldrake, Greenshank, Wigeon, Whooper,
Piper of the Sands, the Peewit, and the Smew,
And at the end of it all – calling the night down –
Harry Nicholson 17/8/22