A full stop on Studland Heath.
erratic forty tonnes
tipped to one side –
like a landlocked ship at low-tide.
surrounded by a sea of golden gorse,
Peopleless, except for us –
two companions alone together in peace.
Cocksure, a robin lands on a branch and looks.
Somewhere, crows clear their throats.
Over the valley, the buzzing of a chainsaw.
But here, the emptiness
of a sky full of silence.
A cruiseship glides into Poole Harbour
ignored by the red squirrels of Brownsea Island.
In the uncertainty between sea and sky
the Isle of Wight floats,
the Needles ivory like the gates of Avalon –
and I imagine Tennyson sailing there with his wife,
At my back, my mast in the storm,
an anchor of time,
Humans, cursed with amnesia,
leave their scrawl – a dyslexia of names
etched into red rock,
heiroglyphs of graffiti,
eroded by ice and rain and wind.
And here I make my mark –
ink on paper,
lines in the sand,
blackbird on chalk.
Finally still, after a month travelling,
sharing my land song,
and listening to those who came to listen.
Peace, after so many words.
Stillness, after so many roads.
I feel akin to the Agglestone –
carried along by a long woman
with glacial will –
moulding the mindland
and being moulded by it,
until deposited at this terminus,
weathered and weary,
but with new stories gathered to tell
around the hearth of winter.
Kevan Manwaring 23rd November-3rd December 2004