Hoo Peninsula

Wandering words from the Hoo Peninsula

The words grew restless on the page
The inky friends escaped
The frozen wastes
Eager to feel the land rich tapestry
Beneath their feet
To celebrate
This peninsula prefixed
With one simple sound
One syllable
One tiny breath of air
One simple complex creature
Leaves its print here

Crawled stepped steeped into the past
Ghost Whisperers flew about their ears
Then biting their flesh
With words of disease and loneliness
The mist enshrouded marshes surround
The melancholy mosquitoes playground
Only smugglers come out to play
To alight at Egypt Bay’s
Soft sands
Where a shady Goddess stands
Divine in isolation awkward in stance
Silent Shade House waits
For moonshine devotees
Offering sanctuary
And life to enhance
The tired adventurers heartsbeating
Jaded & wanderlust rendered
By the graveyard gallery
Where thirteen child portraits
Hang in the earth
Framed in concrete perpetuity
Great Expectations morbidly fulfilled
They came to be
Little lozenge shaped Celebrity
Visited by the world
From century to century

Reflection rest complete
Boots on swollen aching feet
Marching through marshes of Cliffe
Actors loading Full Metal Jackets
Sharing smokes
From dirty packets
Believe in the ‘method’boys
Shouts Uncle Sam
These are the paddy fields of Vietnam

Then the scent of gunpowder
Filled their nostrils
Stung their eyes
They heard distant cries
Shattering explosions
Old factory walls
To foreign fields
Where screams echo and
Ripple in the stream
Of lads lost lives
And what could have been
Thirsty for respite from
This plight and to
Swallow open skies
The inky friends grew wings
Took flight to
Past cement quarry kings
Now Cliffe pools where
Feathered guests reserve
The best places to feast
And meet
Fleetingly greet
Kingfisher’s back of Brilliant blue
Avocet elegant black and white diners
Rub shoulders with aviation’s finest
Little white herons in
Pleated Egyptian cotton wings
Dine on the sumptuous saltmarsh
In the fusion that man and nature brings

They soared over Halstow
High holy place
To Northward hill where
Mature oaks cradle
Grey herons precious nests
In another Ancient woodland
Great virtuosoes commune
Secretive nightingales
Liquid trills spill and
Fill the summer evening
And thrill human hearts
Nightingale males
Attract mates
Rural aural jewels
Shining poetry duels
All this beauty
can be found
Roundabout Lodge Hill
Behind a thicket fence
Nightingales make glorious song
At the Ministry of Defence

Our friends soft skyfell
To Allhallowed ground
Strangely serene
Floating down
Marsh salt gold and
Sea aster unfold
And grazing marsh is found
Falling into Lavender’s arms
Her scent their senses awake
Hear The dreamtime ghost train
And the rough rhythm it makes
Bringing daytrippers down
To the line’s quirky resort
‘Come to All Hallows on sea’
Sadly it never did fulfil
The Grandiose dreams
Of the Hoo railway company

Follow the solitary road
The friends sang
To keep spirits up
To stay on track
Not turn back
Follow the solitary road
The notes floated
Became remote
Got lost in the air
Of Grain where
Industry’s shape
Informs the landscape
Yet hand in hand
Nature the Mother
And her significant other
Both energy providers
One hard steely demeanour
One who had to adapt
To the manmade habitat
Returns stronger greener
Her progeny
Barn owl pipistrelle bat
Badger water vole rat
Birds gather at the watering hole
Rare butterflies and
Emerald beings communicate
On iridescent wing
Nature and industry juxtapose
Just suppose
And hope they always will
Diversity and balance bring

At Grain the friends
Come to the peninsula’s end
See the Thames and Medway meet
The Ancient lovers salty lips
And they retreat
Leaving the mudflats rich
For those who need to feed
They retreat
Into marry time memories
Old forts and Grain Tower
of sailors and fleets
of Victory and sacrifice
of fishermen earning a living
Wrapped up in each other
They coldy agree
How they are so very life giving
Yet they remember
How tragedy wrecks lives
And the wreckage that lies on their bed
And wonder when the SS Montgomery
Will decide to lose her beautiful head
Then they secretly smile
And remember
All the while
The time
The sea wall could not contain them
And now container ships
Make numerous trips
To Thamesport yes to Thamesport deep sea
But no thankyou
Thames Airport in the Estuary
The friends take the
The coastal path
And salute clearers shapers
Meadow and pathway makers
Crunch cockleshell
Stand look out to sea on sand
View the seascape immortalized
By Turner’s genius hand

Homeward bound to Hoo
They drink in
April fields
Lemonyellow drenched
Thirst quenched
Dapple Mackrel blue
Skies hang
Above felt greens
In embroidered scenes
And there Kingsnorth
Chimney stands
Not out of place
Dethroned n decked
Once upon a time
The Green folk
King North’s neck
The Name of Blame
In the
Coalburning Game
Green peacekeepers
Brought to court
‘lawful excuse’ the defence
They won
Set a world precedent
In law and environmental history
Events which began in
A little village near the
Thames estuary

King Coal and Brother Grain’s
Reign over
No more polluting from
Smokestack chimney flue
Usefuelness expended
Waiting for the demolition crew
Now new
Protests arise
Save our iconic chimneys
Let them tower into the skies

On the way home
The friends smarted at the
Lashes of the cruelhearted
Workhouse master
Mentally fought him
Ran down main road faster
They played tag on sunshine corner
Waved as friends went by
Then strolled to the pub
Leisurely like
With a twinkle in their eye
To play the jukebox
Hear terrible jokes
Laugh with young n old folks
Listen to stories
How things used to be
Then drunkenly they sang
St Werburgh church
Bells rang or did they peal
Memories of
Kisses lovers steal
In the moonlight
Under the yew tree
Respect to loved ones who reside
There eternally

The friends returned to me
Illuminated bright and inky
Told of their adventures
Of the peninsula’s reputation
For military innovation
Secret network of trenches found
Patterns seen from the air
Invisble on the ground
Of Zepplins that flew here
And the beloved places
Scribed by the hand
Of the literary giant who
Imprints the land
Of the Muddies
Digging mud flying
Filling up the hungry barges
To quell their crying
Of Henry Pye farming innovator
Of Thomas Wyatt Castle agitator

My inky friends
Laid down their heads
On soft white sheets
Their journey complete
Happy fulfilled tired
Yet still so inspired
Dreams come in
Here we rise
Like some kind of illusion
And float
On strong shoulders
The river holds us
And here we
Make friend ships
Barges narrowboat lifeboat hug
Trawler Mtb lightship and tug
My girls we girls
Always together
Still play
Good friends forever
I see the Sundance
Mary Scott sighs
High waves saved lives
Bring summer
Michael row over
Take me out
For a sunshine swim
Or a drink on a whim
A pirate radio station
On the good ship Libation
Agonised artists
Look for inspiration
Eccentrics danced with
Tea trolley in hand
Captain Webb and Bet
Swayed to the band
Generous Jorja
Hopes for liberty
Tantalus always a good friend to me
Sea monkeys tiptoe on dizzy tightwire
Uelaire smiles raise spirits higher
Calm Sea Casa’s pose
Ebbed the flow
Of water rushing in
Cougar greets us with ‘lovely day’
Even in the roughest wind
Boat dweller river lover
Captains of our destiny
Part of the peninsula
Our community
Is here
So let’s share and
This peninsula
Prefixed with one simple sound
One syllable
One tiny breath of air
One simple complex creature
Leaves its print here