The church is early 12th century. Some two miles from here
The Romans crossed the estuary by a ford
Now long impassable
The shades settle
I am confused by their weight, my questions muffled
By their insistent conversation
As though wings beat in dissonance, we struggle
Before they leave for the drowned land, the sky darkening,
One with a hidden face leaves me a thing
Carefully carved from wood, now pocked by seaworms living
I put it to my mouth, it makes a sound
And at the calling, all the shades turn round.
Elements of this poem came to me when I was walking alongside the Deben estuary in Suffolk, with Ramsholt church on the ridge above. I put it together as I walked. However, it isn’t really any one estuary and the bit about the Romans, my mind probably lifted from the Colne estuary in Essex. The poem is about time living and time dead. I find it easy to think about time and history when I’m by an estuary.