Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Friday, 29 July 2011

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

St George Distils Norfolk Dragon


Here is the home of English whisky,
distilled in finest Egyptian tradition,
eco-friendly as the broad of Norfolk sky
and earth and rain.
Pause here and learn the process of gold fire,
from barley grown on England’s premium plains.
For Ra-kissed earth’s an alchemy of light,
where Boadicca once raged fermenting blood
against the trailing vines that wrapped from Rome.

Here water seeped in chalk of ancient seabeds,
which add all ancient mermen to this brew.
From yeast of Hull, that brings fermenting sky to grist
of vapours; water, blue as clouds:
all brooding to a storm of oak-casked sun.
Stacked low to gradually proof all grey to pure,
as light as sheepskin waterfalled to ghosts
of smoking malt – of bonfires, ancient clans,
before the Thor of Odin into print;
When all men were in legend of new blood
and women stoked the flames of homely lust.

Pause here at Roudham, close beside the Thet,
and taste the distillation of pure gold
(not served, while it matures in bourbon casks,
or sherry barrels, smoked to malt or air).
Then celebrate a future, yet unproofed,
a Temeraire sunset into dawn.
In Norfolk, moored to Midas’ winter feast,
where copper stills now alchemise the past
to living fire that plays on lips and tongue.
All elements of eco-friendly Norfolk.
This spirit chariots earth
in 2009.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Seaside Town in December


(In memorium: Woolies, Cromer, 28/12/08)

Oh, the brooding of sea in December,
the lie of the land, the spread of the beach.
Oh, the gusting of wind-whipping storm-chill;
the leaning of lanes and labouring walks
at the panting and pungent warm-filling chips.
There’s ice cream to thrill; the last pick & mix.

Postcards and ice cream; but no pick & mix;
oh, the turmoil of closure: December.
To smart at crab pincers; wince-pinching at chips.
The lazing of land, grey crowd-freezing beach;
close buttoned-up coats and labouring walks.
Oh, lusty and wild: the Cromer pier chill.

Now this perishing cliff-topping vest-chill,
ice cream swirling layers of flesh pick & mix.
I’m labouring drafts from intimate walks.
Pummelling woollens, warm in December,
where grit’s in my eye and stray-stings down beach.
Oh, thank goodness for seaside fish & chips.

My layers dishevelled and stuffed like damp chips
into the café’s corners: East Coast chill
will keep them – jetsam – on my spreading beach
until, too full of grease and pick & mix,
pummelled woollens wrapped against December
to shiver out the door, now sick of walks.

I’m leaning into frozen steps. Night walks
soon dream my sleep into repeating chips.
All storms at sea and my grey face: December
that ghosts soft cliffs until new morning chill.
No seaside ice cream now. No pick & mix.
I am a whale marooned on driftwood beach.

Daydream no more. Let’s stroll along the beach,
enjoying garden cliff-top meandered walks
next summer. Then I’ll shop for pick & mix;
ice cream and candy floss; or fish & chips;
as I fast thrill to fairground rides or chill
to beer; to cafes, shops. Not in December.

Stores: like winter beaches; cafés serve chips.
Free seagull walks; all bargains; grey not chill.
No pick & mix in Credit Crunch December.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Mundesley's Best Reach


There aches no bluer sea, for Mundesley’s reach
genuflects in ships on the horizon.
A snaking steeping promenade invites
beach-steps of land and sky in tide and surf.

This cultured pearl grits dream pearl-open shell
to tourist threads round fresh necks every year.
Here, Constable paints light like Suffolk sky,
engaged to brash-bright beach huts, Southwold rich.

Fresh bathers prey on salt, like sideways crabs;
primary buckets, spades and paddle-pools.
Recycled human flesh of every shape,
that castles little England for one day.

The ceaselessness of shorelines, colour charts
of bathrooms, kitchens, lounges on the beach.
Showered sand, hot tea, drip-sweet ice cream;
Canute, they parch to sun tans, sand in cracks.

A woolly mammoth leers, or sabre-toothed,
to shades of cave eyes, siege-storms, spark and night.
Black Shuck howls, but a breath on Cromer’s cliffs.
This backwater, unfocused and unframed.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Meaning of Mundesley


Raging winter storms left the promenade
in a state of disrepair: beach huts in primary shades
temporarily beached in a farmer’s field.
Returning to a vanishing, what remains?

A solo swimmer crawls across the ocean,
emerging bronzed as lobster from the Med;
all hairs stand chill in concentrated grit
of pebble paths or gravel to the shade
of this cliff faced in grass and steeping climb:
to the eyrie of the coastguard’s flag poles and museum
and blue of endless summer sky.

A nubile pre-teen loiters in the curve
of waters pooled around the groyne,
where tots in sun-suits paddle without burn
of bare shine on fair skin:
protecting futures.

Lovers cream bare calves and thighs and arms
of women lying absorbed between the sheets
of fat pulp fiction, frictioned by its thrill,
while others – bored and blond – spread empty legs
around a camp of sunscreen, surf boards, spades.

No Purple Patch of ocean deeps to dark
the gentlest shade of air spread to the sky,
horizoned by the press of Midlands’ air:
relaxing into Wells or teashop Cley.

Here is all sun and sand and sea and sky,
to lie away depressions for a while;
and here my son unframed the grey surround:
my morning shade of grumbling by the mirror…
For he saw me through his love.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Wells to Walsingham


I do not say it is the finest view,
though you will see all Norfolk at your feet.
Beneath this sky, though there is nothing new,
you’ll simply bear an almost-comfy seat.

Though you will see all Norfolk at your feet,
a rabbit or a pheasant stray in sight,
you’ll simply bear an almost-comfy seat
to count full thirty minutes rocking, light.

A rabbit or a pheasant strays in sight,
foul sewage treatment works won’t spoil your view,
to count full thirty minutes rocking-light
until the trip has finished, tunnelled through.

Foul sewage treatment works won’t spoil your view
and, like a country walk, close wildlife
until the trip has finished, tunnelled through;
all bugs have strayed upon your child or wife.

And like a country walk, close wildlife
brush-flutters, brambles buzz through carriaged path;
all bugs have strayed upon your child or wife,
for nature’s gentle beach will wash and bathe.

Brush-flutters, brambles buzz through carriaged path,
where Wells is but a journey’s destination.
For nature’s s gentle beach will wash and bathe
in seaside splendour’s harboured combination.

Where Wells is but a journey’s destination,
fair Walsingham will touch the great beyond
in seaside splendour’s harboured combination.
Return – most holy – if the soul responds.

Fair Walsingham will touch the great beyond,
beneath this sky, though there is nothing new.
Return, most holy, if the soul responds.
I do not say it is the finest view.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Walled Garden, Felbrigg


Mature fruit in the apple orchard,
skies blue as endless summer.
Neptune’s cherub poses,
harmless in a pond,
where lavender yet blooms.
No crooning from the dovecote’s aged red bricks,
while vegetables are fat for harvesting
before first winter frosts.

A bloom of agapanthus skies
and angel’s trumpets in the greenhouse.
Just gently snaking breeze
of naked ladies blooming bare and pink.
Geraniums in second flush,
fuschias tall as trees.
Cabbage whites flit caryopteris airs,
while pensioners slow to a long-gone age;
yet fast as humans, fast as fall,
and always like a Noah’s Ark, in pairs.

Geese arch to church-migrating shapes,
into a storm of popes and formless fears.
Silent jets spike the sky,
to seashell echoes of a distant war.

One stray dragonfly dances light-stormed peace;
too soon, gone.
An echolalic child lifts laughter into air,
as windfalls stray and bruise on verdant lawn.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Underside the Seaside


No coastal town takes erosion with such charm
in calm and winding, car-denying climb,
as Blakeley, beside Cley.
Blue/white striking cottages, cobbled together
higgledy-piggledy along the narrow street,
with ‘Sugarplum,’ ‘Tidal Retreat,’ and cosy ‘Snugglers Den,’
dropping as a gull for fish; or bread on the waters.

Quiet courtyards impassion passing age;
brimming hollyhocks, roses, honeysuckle;
dried starfish streak a window sill’s salt theme.
Pensioner chronometers muscle shore-steep Quay:
‘They’ll be crabbing along the edge...’

Fair views of beach huts, galleries lined
with boats or Norfolk scenes; sublime.
Proud beside blue dinghies, packed parked cars,
higgledy-piggledy browsers passing through,
with picnic seats and picnics. Time to chat;

to choruses of swooping gulls,
blackheaded for the season’s vocal feed.
Clustered homes along the wharf, all cobbles,
Blickling bricks. ‘Seal trips’ advertised by
‘Bishops Boats.’ Waiting – perhaps for trips to bless the seals,
blubber-rich in seafood, all for sale:

Youthful gull begs bread among his peers,
bobbing shoulders hunched full down,
in raucous bow and gawping beak;
brown smudge feathers, begging in the mud.
Sludge path, the scenic right of way, finds Cley,
signs Blakeney Point, home of mud seals;
a smudge without a telephoto lens.

Young Barbie Dolls screech in delight and hail
a yelping terrier, paddle-deep in slime and dowsing salt.
Bucket and crabs aloft, they race around in grime,
a smudge of mud within their parents’ lens,
pouring crab pool chrome mud pies,
muscling, screaming: surfing mud-sucked flow.

Below the crabbers’ estuary,
higgledy-piggledy boats huddled at low tide
and, in full stride, the late, good-natured sun,
twinkling, youthful as a Barbie Doll,
all English misting clouds and dust
and blubber, mud-splat flesh and limbs askew.
Beached as the mud flats, fat with seals,
scruffy coastal shrubs, coarse grass
and art translated into sludge and paint.
‘For Sale.’ The higgledy-piggledy perfection
of a blue chrome Norfolk sky.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Origins of Norwich


Rising to the millennium, a phoenix from the flames,
Norwich Forum spreads light from St Peter Mancroft
to the higgledy-piggledy market, flash as lego bricks.
Origins wraiths the past in a gateway of seasonal ice skating,
opening up the BBC to carols by candlelight of piping requiems
and scripts of life restored or purchased new.
Here, where students lounge on steps, watch milling shoppers
courting matrimony, or a prison cell melting Caley’s,
tourists spread, peeping under covers of pricey souvenirs.
Here they pay and walk into the past, connecting with the ancient
cobbled stones of Elm Hill, Maid’s Head coaching inn and, more,
aspiring beauty in Cathedral Close, where barges wherried Caen stone
to the site; Pull’s Ferry reaching to a rainbow sky, which spreads
in womanly curves beneath the sheets of the wildest widest pair
of harpy thighs. Where Xanadu sleeps in Arabian Nights
of endless stories screaming like a mother; or a dog:
Black Shuck as wild and free as Boudicca, who raged upon her tide
and raped the Romans to Londinium.
And here the secret sensuous spill of words, the oldest book that woman
can unsheathe in revelations, oh, so divine: that blood and death
can slice a little dot of carrot where a woman finds a mate,
within a little cell where mother mews, Teresa-like, to fill the golden bowl.
She lies uncovered, pages ending fast, until the close where Mary grails the sky
and there the uncreated order pours.

Boudicca, Londinium
River Wensum, Norwich

Friday, 11 February 2011

Norwich Cathedral

NORWICH CATHEDRAL (Pantoum)  Wendy Webb

Such splendid scene aspires to England’s best,
to pluck the gates of heaven with a bow,
where grace shoots to true blue in happiness
and arrow feathers spin to earth below.

To pluck the gates of heaven with a bow
that stretches clouds into infinity
and arrow feathers spin to earth below,
where Norwich closes to a holy see

that stretches clouds into infinity.
At least a Cotman, Crome could Sell such sky,
where Norwich closes to a holy see
of sunset in earth’s orb of fine sunrise.

At least a Cotman, Crome could Sell such sky.
Rest here where Cavell’s bones are blessed in peace
of sunset in earth’s orb of fine sunrise,
where cricket tests great light-scenes, wicket leas.

Rest here where Cavell’s bones are blessed in peace;
live swans in broad-sail cargoed on a wherry,
where cricket tests great light-scenes, wicket leas,
to blanche Caen stone and pool above Pull’s Ferry.

Live swans in broad-sail cargoed on a wherry.
Plane Salisbury: petite to nurse great Fry,
to blanche Caen stone and pool above Pull’s Ferry.
Still Constable and Turner frame vast skies.

Plane Salisbury petite to nurse great Fry,
where grace shoots to true blue in happiness.
Still Constable and Turner frame vast skies.
Such splendid scene aspires to England’s best.