The Ambler

Amble's Community Newspaper: News & events from Amble in Northumberland – The Kindliest Port.

Old time and tide poem

Old Time and Tide – New Dawn?
(Not Forgetting, ‘The Ancient of Days.’

One mile south, four thousand years or more,
From our Spire Graveyard,
Sand dunes hide the Bronze Age Burial Site,
In darkness. Then, the sudden stubborn loveliness,
Is Nineteen Ninety-Nine, December, late first light,
NOT ‘Millennium hyped,’ but like a Resurrection,
East of High Hauxley.

Lighthouse automatic, beams out round Coquet Isle red/
White, at preset second exact.
Reminder of that perfect clock, for accurate seamen’s Longitude.
Its compensations marvellous, precise, made by J. Harrison.
Inventor John worked on with endless stoic fortitude,
Through cruel years of disappointment, now, not yet
Forgot – Tides of vicissitude

‘Kleep, kleeping,’ o’er uncrowded shoreline still unspoiled,
A dozen vivid oystercatchers
Aerobatic swoop, display team, black and white, formationed,
Amble’s own ‘Red Arrows’ in miniature. Four mere miles
Away, seals, storm petrel, with searching cyclonic – the
Wind chill factor, ferocious isobar determined –
See where Armed Merchant Cruiser ‘Patia’ was bombed,
In Nineteen Forty-one and sunk. Peace, dear bought.

 Grey unreal figure – appears so vaguely shaped, in jumbled
Scudding clouds. A hairy Viking?
With broken sword? Or, can it be a scythe half-formed?
Vision of Grim Reaper, Father Time, twice Petra life spanned?
So bringing thoughts of Plato, the Divine Christ, Sir Thomas More,
All sentenced death; truth, goodness, bitter execution rewarded.
But was Immanuel The Sacrifice? Love Made Man Eternally
For all our sins? God’s Own Forgiveness. 

Footnote:- red/white coming in westward from sea, the white arc beam is seen – red from land facing east. 

John Paperman 

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