Under a rare bright white September sun
the grey path climbs through wind combed trees
to a machine gun post, second world war.
It rakes a view of Sand Point, Quantock
Minehead, Steepholm, Chepstow, Wales.
Coleridge loved this broad light place
but that was when the Severn gave
so many salmon that servants
sickened of their taste.
The estuary now ’s a brown conveyor belt
full of good Gloucester topsoil,
bound for the latest seabed silt
and - in good time - for rock.
North west, inland
towards the smooth fresh wind
a bridge is etched
in seagull white
against the sloe skin colour of the Chepstow hills
even on this bright day
the water’s brown
there’s no denying it
a rasping rusty tongue
dividing Cymru from Loegri.
There is a legend - possibly untrue -
an ancient dragon,
tiring of the wars between those lands,
laid down to buy a thousand years of peace,
and that his blood still stains the Severn red.
Over the back, towards the sunny side
the dull dun tiles
of houses crawl across the moor
echoing the colour of the Estuary
white gables point like wind tipped waves.
The village Coleridge knew
spreads like a steady tide
across the onetime mud flats
salt marsh, pastures, roofs
still in this gentle sun
until the long slow ocean tide comes back
Richard Lawson Sept 01