UNDERSIDE THE SEASIDE Wendy Webb
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:
of WHELKS and MUSSELS, PRAWNS and SHRIMPS,
OYSTERS and ‘CRAB SANDWICHES.’
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.