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Salthouse, Norfolk

by John Press

Even on midsummer days a spongy mist
Swirls round the marshes and the sun is subdued.
The sluggish grey sea's thud and the stark flint church
Emphasize the silence and the solitude.

It may be human fantasy that lends
An aspect of desolation to this village.
We are saddened to reflect that sullen tides,
Lashed from somnolence, will rise and pillage

The hoarded treasure of these fishermen
Who stubbornly breed their pigs and ducks and cows,
Knowing a score of years the longest respite
The whim of Nature contemptuously allows.

Perhaps if we came here with unburdened hearts
The marram grass and salt marsh would assume
The savour and the promise of ripening corn
And the sea would flash with iridescent spume.

But I believe that some original taint
Haunts and infects with foreboding the heavy skies,
Benumbing the flints and beasts and earth with grief
Which we do not invent but recognise.

Norfolk Poems




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