I Love Kent Coast Poem

This poem was ‘crowdsourced’ on Twitter during the run up to Kent Coastal Week in October 2011. We asked people what they loved about the Kent coast and then poet Dan Simpson used some of the tweets to compile this poem.

Read it below and watch Dan’s performance of the poem.

 

The coast looks different every day

blue, wind, white, shells, sky, shade, waves

the inconsistently continuous chimes

of a pebble hitting the ‘warning soft mud’ sign.

 

Touched by first light of every new day

it colourwashes my mood

Bleak, blustery, battering and beautiful

 

Coast bright, blue, dark and grey

Clear and colourful, murky and opaque

from the bleak desolation of Dungeness

to Margate’s clear light

21 miles of ever changing sea-nary

from pebbly beaches to cliffs of pure white

 

A sea fog swims across the marsh:

the mainland to isle defined by vapour…

 

And it’s suddenly

The Summer of ’76

Ladybirds covering the Red Spider Café

I take a class to Westgate on the last day of term

to make a beach alphabet

A scenic and atmospheric breath of fresh air

an inspiring place to be creative

but the pupils are storming down the seafront

stomping to slump

sulking on the stones

and sitting staring at the still sea…

 

Seagulls spy and squawk and squat

They dance on my roof like rain

sneaky lunch break with a sea view to devour –

Oysters & cockles & pickles & jam

veggies and fruit and seasalter ham

I eat chips!

Drink in raspberry beer and big skies

our quayside haven a pebble’s throwaway

from the Neptune pub and fresh fish

 

Always something happening:

sea, sand, shingle, people, music

cockles whelk oysters; barges smacks and coasters;

comings goings landings and leaving;

 

the sounds of the seaside summer:

high-pitched screams

as toes tentatively dipped

into a chilly sea

 

I spent teenage years swimming in the ice-cold sea
It made me feel alive:

gazing at France, & dreaming

with the sun glittering across the water

from the ruins of Reculver Castle

to the pebbles at Deadman’s Corner

Brisk walks on the beach to feel carefree

strolling along in flip flops – the ultimate flats –

Nibbling on candyfloss, a ‘kiss me quick’ hat…

 

with each smash the pier sports centre

piece by piece slowly disappears

and seagulls soar into the air

in this extremity of England.

 

tide out:

I watch my lurcher

like a greyhound out of the traps

race across the miles of sand

as if inspired

by the Sea, the Herring Gulls and the Skies

 

which are sunset; changing light

and it feels like a stormy November afternoon

I’m shivering on Whitstable pebbles

watching husband-to-be skim stones

Finally finding myself

wrapped up warm on Tankerton slopes

with champagne and Jones’ chips

to celebrate November anniversaries

 

As the seagulls sit on posts

the sun goes down in front of me.

I see the pebbles on the beach

against the blue of the sea.

 

My heart is always there

because nothing matters so much by that sea

and by that sky.

 

Dan’s perfomance of the poem was filmed by Stephen Arkell at the Creative Coast at Whitstable event on Sunday 23 October.

 

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