Love Letter from the Salt Marsh to the Scientist.

Recently I did a gig with my collective (Loud Poets) called Experimental Words. It was a gig that combined scientists and poets to make original pieces that talked about the work of the scientists. My scientist was a guy called William and he studied Salt Marshes. So thus this poem was born!

I know I haven’t posted in a while so to anyone who still reads these…I hope you enjoy it!


We both come from the salt

You and I

I watched you

Footsteps a symbol of defiance to the water

As you came crawling through the upside-down maze

Of my landscape spine.

This was the beginning.

Before the smokestacks and the engine

Before your boats carved paths through the ocean, through the horizon, through my coastline

You were always a traveller

Clever people

You’ve gotten taller since then

Learned to stand up right and defiant

I watched you make cities from the river banks

Crack the world open like the oyster made for your pearls

As if you owned everything you touched

I watched you swim backstrokes through all the consequences of your growth

Until now you and I tread water

Delicate in our balance.

There’s a push and a pull to things

You see that when you grow with the tides

There is life among the flat

Hidden depths

Kingdoms of crabs and shrimp

They scuttle their way through my channels

Me and the sea

We have been doing this for forever

We send each other messages in shrimp code

Tell each other secrets about how to make heather roots grow steady and

how to distribute a shoreline correctly

There is a push and a pull to things

We embrace for the smallest of waves

Give each other gifts from ourselves

I grow and shrink with the months

While she remains endless

You and I

We both know we can never go back to her again

Not like we used to.

I watch you dance light over my surface

A pirouette of discovery

Feel the weight of a fourth dimension 6 minutes and 38 seconds at a time

If we keep playing this song…

Maybe one day we’ll know each other

Maybe one day you’ll see the catfish in my dreams

Serenaded by a New Orleans sunrise

And the jazz of creole shrimp boats

Catching the morning in two hands

Light dripping from the open nets

Maybe I’ll see the slow lightning of my shape

Pull boots on and go walking through the high walls of my flat surface

The ocean breeze brushing back my reed-hair.

We both know about holding

We’ve got that in common

We can both weather a storm with open arms

I welcome heron into my rib cage long grass

Flamingos flock in my heart beats

My head’s full of feathers

Some days I have so much birdsong in me

And then it shifts

The fledgeling days give way to a coastal silence

The music of the waves

The push and the pull of a tidal rhythm

The grey days

Coal washed up onto the shore like music notation

To the duet between the water and the earth

In a way, we both exist in that in between

The space between grounded and floating

The push

And the pull

Dear human

You were once an easy scientist

Everything was a discovery

And dinosaurs lurked almost everywhere

When we met for the first time for the 100th million time

You were storyteller historian palaeontologist hybrid scholar

In your head, my trenches contained Vikings riding T-Rexs in King Arthur’s Court of Atlantis

You found bad-ass in the beauty of stillness

When did we change?

I’ve been doing this for such a long time

I don’t know how else to be

We’re still equal parts Dylan Thomas and Carlos Williams

Chopin and Mogwai

The push and the pull

The laser light stops

You move your markers again

And again

I tell you

We both come from the salt…


NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 30

He lies with his head on New York

He is a giant

In a scale of 1:40000

He has learned something new today

Maybe from a book about the universe

A pop up book of nebula

As big as sky scrapers

He has learned how to be small again

He breathes the same air again

Notices things he never realised before

He takes up a comfortable room

His walls aren’t closing in

The cold outside is perfect

The smile of sunshine tracking up his lined wallpaper

Nothing has changed.

Everything has changed.

NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 29

She sits in the empty room

Suddenly aware of how bare walls are greedy eaters

They leave the room hollow

She feels as if she is sitting in a ribcage

A bone picked carcus

She feels sick

Her friends came

Boxed her into several pieces and left one by the door

“return it or burn it” written on the side in thick black lines.

It has been weeks since that box fitted into this home

But even so she has not stopped moving it around

To this place and that.

On the fifty seventh day the bottom gives out

The floor is strewn with feathers

So many colours and shapes

At the top of this mountain of flight

A single piece of paper

Pinned by a blackbird feather.

She takes the word

And hides it for the rainy days

It always seems to grow brighter

Then she frames the feathers (every one)

It still is missing something

But she looks at the word

And knows

That that is ok.

NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 28

I stand at the corner of an indoor market

Spend my time casually

Studying people’s shoes.

Adopt the slouch to match.

A surprisingly stylish pair of brown shoes

Keep an old man

And his baggy blue trousers

Shuffling up and down the tiled alleyway.

The roof is a mix of weathered wood and red curves.

Flat caps and memories.


And yet

Still here

Enduring                       as if there was no other way to exist.

At the corner again

I think about bringing you here one day

And pointing out all the people

Like the works of art they have always been

Even when

And especially

When no one was looking

NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 27

He is alone and the beach is empty

The waves keep reaching out to his shoes

Tiny white arms melting into the sand

The ocean is as grey as the sky

Both are moving

Like giants turning in their sleep

He shouts at the sky

The sky shouts back

They glare at each other in a stand off

He watches as the sky comes crashing into the sea

When he eventually leaves

His footprints sink the ground behind him

The white arms reach out

And embrace the ghost of a gold ring.

NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 26

I keep coming back to this line

I am the cold costs of home

Though lately I have been feeling more river than ocean

Herded by busy people

With important walks

And brown shoes

Or maybe I’m more of a cave

Years ago

Smarter, more adventurous creatures lived inside my shell

And they painted their stories on my walls

And now I just recite

These mammoths and hunting hands

Over and over

And yet…

I am the cold costs of home

A beach in winter

Deep in the grey of it all

The sea, the land, the mist

Coat collar turned up

Hands in pockets


There is still beauty to be found in nothing.

NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 25

The mice haven’t shown up recently

Maybe they never made it home from their last score

Maybe they’re hold up in the hills

In a log cabin

Nervous but alive

Mouse sized tommy guns

Sticking out of broken windows

I think our mice might be John Dillinger fans

They drive T-Model Fords

They’re folk heroes for some

But somewhere out there

There’s an Elliot Ness cat

Come to think of it

I do live near a cinema

Maybe Roach

The little Dillinger he is

Went and saw a movie and got gunned down in the street

Then again

Maybe he’s made it

Him and his gang

Maybe they left after one last score

Last night

I swear I heard them

Laughing round the record player

The sound of bye bye blackbird

Gently walking


Down the hall.

NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 24

Where I come from

People measure their lives in screen inches

I have been moving from one to the next for days

Or the closest I have got to days

I live my life as a Houdini

Constantly escaping

Inside a camera lens

One day

I will write the world I will escape to

Or maybe I won’t

But there is no way of knowing until

I stop channel hopping

And start writing

But if this is a magic trick

I have not yet worked out

The prestige of it all.

NaPoWriMo 2016: Day 22


When you look back on all the wasted time

Try not to look at it as wasted

Try to see it how i see it

It’s just time.

When you finally get around to putting your life in order

Stacking the shelves of your insides

With books and green things

And adulthood

And calendars

Leave a shelf empty

I’ll be waiting with the comic books

And the reasons why you still write poetry.