Arriving at Whitby
For hours underfoot land belched sheep,
Sucking, earthy, its maw supped boot until,
Abruptly a town was gusted up our noses,
And coming down from high moors,
We caught a whiff of Whitby.
Nick and Dev and me breathing in
A sea town smell, filtered by a bitching rain,
Swept up across the grass, the heather,
Then, as if uncrouching in our faces, suddenly the Abbey,
Hilda’s ghost a speck in the eyes of emptied windows.
Uncounted steps delivered us,
Via curled embedded stony snakes,
Over the unseen border into town,
Where neither Captain Cook nor Dracula,
Came out to smile or wave hello.
Instead a whalebone arch, big bags of chips,
One old watery lad, on a bobbing boat,
A scattering of Goth pilgrims gathered in a pub,
Where drinkers came and went like tides,
Appeared to nod us in, mark our brief arrival.
Later, evening and I slipped past St Mary’s,
Headed for the harbour down and down,
On to a solid block of pier, the west, I thought,
Where I failed to flatten the North Sea,
Untroubled by my presence, its beckoning unanswered.
Once Through A Window
Dull horizons over winter trees
stand silent in rain which doesn’t fall,
cropped grass in a yellow-brown number
is unimpressed by a child on a bicycle,
racing down its back, laughing at lazy gulls
suddenly loosing their wings.
A large crow in a gnarled tree
is unconcerned with drifting balloons,
welcomed by shrieking girls in rooms,
whose wide eyes watch them fade;
a kestrel who shouldn’t be here, buzzes earth,
And the colour of the day remains discontent grey.