Suffolk Eastside

Another Suffolk piece,’Suffolk Eastside’.

 Suffolk Eastside



I’ve walked this coast from Bawdsey to Lowestoft

Past bird sanctuaries

Power stations

Bleached tree trunks

Sand cliffs


Salt marshes

And shingle shores that drowned the feet,


Watched friends cradle fishing boats into the river at Orford


Being unable to earn a living with their nets changed islands

Teaching boat building in the hot sun of Jamaica

Before coming home to convert old vessels back to sail.

I’d never seen anything like it

Out in the mud at Melton

They drilled holes without so much as a tape measure

Hitting the beam on the deck above every time.


What eyes.

She told me they met on a canal trip with her parents.

They thought they’d hired him for his skill on the water

Not to run away with their daughter.

Those were the days

I took my lunch at will

Driving up and down the coast in a brown Commer van

Handbrake on the steering column

Dropping off conduit to contractors and farms.


Between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness

I sunk into the stones

And had to get a tractor from the holiday park to pull me out.

Now Maggy’s shells fish for an imaginary world

Inhabited by artists, sailors and good old boys and girls

Still singing  in secret pubs we only stumble on by accident


I have driven along this coast with its hostile sea

and ridden the waters

On ferries that took us to the mainland

To tour in Transits and bicycles,

Bringing back artists from Eastern Europe

Who came to spread their wings in a land where drinking stops by the bell

And music has to licensed.


I have memories of this coast too painful to tell

Of friends claimed by the sea

And me

A landlubber held tight in that place

Where thistles

Push their way up above the tide-line.

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