The Tides of the Severn (1982 – 2012 – 2042)

(“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better”:  A. Einstein)


When free I cycled past Llanwern

Where all about was coated bronze,

And warblers chattered in the reeds,

And sang away the thumps of steel.


Then past the railway, orchard, church,

And out on to the flat and green,

Where grey was liberated earth,

And land was sea and sea was sky.


My bike had kicked the salt and mud

Until my legs were driftwood black.

As oystercatchers yelped and fled

I flew the bike to scatter more.


Then out as far as land would hold,

I stopped to place myself in life:

How distant Newport seemed and small,

Out here where worlds dissolved and flowed.


In thirty years I might return

To where that marshland used to be,

To find how even memories

Are washed away by rising tides.


In thirty years I’d look around

And note how cities fought the sea,

And blamed the sea, and blamed the sky,

And built their barricades so high,


And there I’d stand, a crooked man.

A mile inland from where I rode,

I’d watch the Severn lap the church

And wash away the graveyard walls.

7 Comments to “The Tides of the Severn (1982 – 2012 – 2042)”

  1. I love everything about this poem – the rhyme and meter reminds me of some of the classic poets. I also like the looking ahead thirty years and finding the landscape so altered. Highly likely, given recent cataclysmic events in various landscapes. My favorite stanza is the cities blaming the sea and the sky and building “their barricades too high”. Awesome write!

  2. I love how you start this poem with “When free.” We all just need to step back from whatever enslaves us and let the warblers sing away our own barricades and embrace the understanding nature offers freely.

  3. I enjoyed this write, though I am unclear what ‘the Severn’ is. I should probably Google it. Some beautiful descriptions in your words.

  4. Beautiful and haunting…there are a lot of shadows in your poem!
    I agree, we need to stop building by the sea…and question Mother Nature.
    Well done…such wonderful guided imagery 😀

  5. Wheew, only one thing I needed to look up here: Severn. I will google one thing sometimes. And that helped, I then understood the rest of the poem for the most part.
    Fascinating and great writing — I totally enjoyed it.
    Indeed the landscape may progressively change and nature will laugh at us.
    The “oystercatchers” may have the last laugh !
    Fine poem, mate.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: