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Showing posts from December, 2013


The day arrived before us shining midwinter bright, Frosty veils hanging in the grass and reeds.

All around the sheltered sway the burn brushed softly on its way, Carrying in each melodic strain and on each gargled note, A slow, dawning, and intimate response, That flowed beneath its icy coat.
An answering song, an inevitable surge, rolling in secret seduction to the sea.
Memories of summer; frosted amber, held in fibres that Twisted through the stronger autumn calling, Lay crisply in beech upon the ground.
Winter spread its frigid fronds along the stems and veins Of leaves, suspended in one last brittle show; Intricately balanced, held fast in its careful vice.
On the bay glass sparked hidden in the sand, Seaweed piled heavily under persistent clinging hoar, Sun glowed orange on the North sea strand.
In the path of winter light, the lovely little burn At last fulfilled, recognised its destiny And shared its music with the sea.


In 1882 W. J. Palmer wrote,
“True the free fresh moors, the fairy nooks and anglers haunts, the waterfalls and sparkling streams, are left behind, away in the west and the north, whilst seaward we have only the vision of black country, and, when with memory’s image still clear of the “bosky-burns” of upper Tyne, we look for Pandon-burn Lort-burn, and Ouse-burn of the old maps of Newcastle, our feeling for nature suffers an outrage.”
“ .. now vast volumes of smoke with mingled steam are borne rapidly across the heavens, before a gale from off the sea, and when a lull comes, the murky vapour is saved up in sullen black masses, giving high relief to numerous seagulls, whose witness is repeated by that of scudding steam spray; - again the cloud is broken up, and drawn out into a broad filmy screen, penetrated by the sunlit sky behind, and through the ever changing spaces are – half seen – chimneys and furnaces, made weird in their indistinctness, whilst, through rifts high up, we get glimps…


"Here …. Though mayst perceive The local deity with oozy hair And mineral crown beside his jagged urn Recumbent.  Him thou mayst behold, who hides His lineaments by day, yet there presides, Teaching the docile waters how to turn; Or, if need be, impediment to spurn, And force their passage to the salt sea tides."

On the horizon an orange glow spread out across the sky beckoning us homeward and pushing back
the night. In a few miles the orange glow will become the lighted suburban sprawl that spreads thinly through the villages and towns along the Tyne. From here as we drive along the old road, the military road, the glow is a welcome home, it will change to a thousand orange street lights that swallow us into unidentifiable traffic queues and guide us to our house in the city.
We have journeyed beyond the wall, we have been to the west, and we have left behind watery vistas hanging like watercolours, spread wide, indistinct silhouettes across hazy canvasses. We have left…