Saturday, 1 October 2016

Guardians of Sea and Air

Kent, England, September 2016
I was staying in a friend's caravan, almost in sight of the entrance to the Channel Tunnel. At night there was a distant background noise like faint and faraway traffic. The nights were clear, and the constellations visible overhead between the trees became as familiar as household gods.

Returning home at sunset; entrance to the Channel Tunnel on the left

Guardians of sea and air
The night portals never rest,
the orange lights and the entrances and exits
to the underground, tunnelling beneath the sea,
the same sea we saw today, from cliff-tops,
a turquoise stretch of water, then a haze
of pale blue, no clear line of the horizon.

The night's work,
the guardians of sea crossings,
the tunnel underneath la Manche,
they never rest.

Night lights of planes
weave in and out of stars
altering the constellations.

In the afternoon, the hot sun
on the cliff-tops, white and chalky,
where the edges crumble, rusty signs
warn of danger, but there's the trodden path ahead,
there's the memorial to air battles
fought in World War Two 

the statue of Pilot Everyman
gazing out across the sea
and the valley railway line to Dover
and the sea birds above the blue.