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The Estuary


Sitting at the river's edge

With Mistley at my back

Looking out across the estuary

To Suffolk - on the other side.


The sky a deep and cobalt blue

The air so still and calm

Not a breeze to stir the leaves

Of the trees lined up behind me.


The summer tide is in and high

The water clear and flat

Stretching - like a pane of glass -

Towards the northern shore.


Up beyond that shore are spread

The colours sharp and clear:

The cornfields, dry and dusty-drab

Form a backdrop to the view.


Woods and trees and hedgerows too

In every pastel shade of green

March across the countryside

Firm fixtures on the gentle land.


Parked like toys upon the river

Boats tied to their moorings

Lie peacefully - upon the flat

Still, surface of the water.


A line of swans sails in to view.

Gliding smoothly and serene

Their strong, firm paddles underneath

Drive them east - towards the Quay.


Traffic passes on the road behind.

But even that intrusion cannot blight

The peaceful pleasure to be had

Looking out - across the view ahead.


Two small rivers, Box and Brett

Meet the Stour at Higham.

And thus combined they softly roll

Through Dedham - to this estuary.


These lands were formed by ice and flood

By rising seas and constant flows

To lay the countours of the hills

And plot the river's certain course.


This land, this river, both unchanged

From ages past until today.

I know that I'm just passing through

Privileged to linger here.


My life will leave no lasting mark

Upon these perfect ancient lands.

The tides of life will ebb and flow

And wash all trace of me away.



Manningtree Quay


Standing on the quay

At Manningtree

Looking out across

The sun-bright scene.


A haze of mist rises

Far ahead

And casts a natural veil

Over the Suffolk hills.


The river Stour is tidal here

So ebbs and flows

With every wax and waning

Of the passing moon.


Now the tide is out.

The broad and gentle river

Just a narrow channel

Through the estuary.


Boats rest softly

On the banks of mud

Waiting for the tide

To lift them clear.


Wading birds

By many thousands


As they peck and scrape.


River weeds

Bright and gleaming green

Drink in sunlight

From the crystal air.


On the right

A line of trees

Shows the road

To Mistley.


At my back

The smallest town

Goes about

Its bustling business.


To the left

Is Dedham Vale

And Flatford

Sketched by Constable.


The natural beauty

Of this land

Well known for ages

Long gone by.


Just seven years

I’ve lived here now:

Years of peace

And friendship.


As if the very land


Had wrapped me

In its warm embrace.


And when the stress

And panics came

Said to me

“Take comfort here”.