(“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.