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Desire Lines

August 5, 2021

I’m enjoying taking part in this wide-ranging project. So far I’ve been on two expeditions. The first was to Nether Stowey and the beach at Kilve on 20th June, a day of mixed weather.

Poets and artists in the garden of Coleridge Cottage in Nether Stowey

Some photos from Kilve:

Desire Lines 1

Hydrangea petiolaris
climbs a wall
behind the pub

nice view of Hinkley Point!
lunch here?
let’s go on

thatched cottages in Holford
Alfoxton foxgloves
the road winds through woodland

not the grotty layby the other one
so this is the loaves and fishes
back to the 1950s

picnic in the car
in a layby
in the rain

there goes the exhaust
Kilve Kilve Kilve
down to the roaring beach

mullein teasel hedge-mustard agrimony
blue lias boulders
bladderwrack and scribbled pebbles

brown water grey headland
litter of shattered shale
wave lines slant to the shore

junction 23 roundabout
a mass of moon daisies
horses up to their knees in buttercups

I have the right
to be absolutely
wrong

The next day I dyed some thick rag-paper with the bladder-wrack I’d collected on the beach. I like the subtle results.


Our second expedition took us to Bridgwater and Steart Point on 3rd August, a perfect summer day. In Bridgwater we visited the delightful Somerset Brick and Tile Museum beside the River Parrett. Clay was dug in situ from the river bank and fired in bottle-kilns heated by coal and coke from South Wales, just across the Bristol Channel. The last remaining kiln has been preserved.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the wild wetlands of the Steart Peninsula. The marshes, rich with wildflowers and insect life, provide flood defence and are a haven for water-birds. We saw no litter, and maybe half a dozen other people all afternoon. It was a perfect day out in good company.

Somerset Brick and Tile Museum

the overburden
from river silt
industry in terminal decline

piecework
labour-intensive
boot with a blade to slice the clay

moulded and pressed
excess cut away
sprinkled with sand from Burnham

tiles stacked to dry
like books on shelves 
a dragon rampant on the roof

Boundaries

Sedgemoor
we need a map
where are the boundaries

irradiated
with Chinese laundry money
and a jumped-upstart game-player

birds don’t
dragonflies don’t
recognise boundaries

Steart

in the wilderness
almost off the map
much further out than you think

under a clear sky
sliced by powerlines
we turn left for the marshes

what can that be
out beyond the power station
ventilation for Mary’s Minecraft tunnel

clink of shingle
round pebbles underfoot
smooth and speckled as harbour seals

high tide at 2.40
it’s too quiet to eat crisps
listen can you hear the curlew

agrimony chicory bindweed
yarrow mustard common reed
bedstraw nightshade hawkweed

bees and butterflies
and not an albatross
but a pair of little egrets

the hide in the distance
Baba Yaga’s house
striding across the saltmarsh

a sheep leaps away
lively as a young buck
we’ve missed the footpath

beehives in a row
alder and willow at Cox’s Farm
a gift of courgettes at the gate

river and  sea
nearby but inaccessible
the little church of St Andrew

flat fields
sheep and pylons
raggedy quickthorn hedges

so still
so quiet
so close to Hinkley Point

Note: Hinkley C nuclear power station, with Chinese finance and French reactors, is the largest construction site in Europe. EDF hired gaming experts to help with the design process. A machine called Mary is digging a tunnel nearly two miles out to sea to lay a pipeline to bring water in for cooling.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2021 7:22 am

    Great pics Ama, sorry I had to miss Steart. Next time…

  2. August 6, 2021 8:28 am

    Thank you Jo. Andrew’s photos on FB are much better than mine! Fingers crossed for good weather next time.

  3. Beau Beausoleil permalink
    August 15, 2021 7:26 pm

    Dear Ama,

                         This seems like a wonderful project, and right up your creative path.

    All best, Beau

  4. August 29, 2021 10:13 am

    Thanks for dropping in, Beau, and for your encouragement always.

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