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…