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Showing posts from February, 2012

Dungeness

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Here's something I wrote after visiting Dungeness on 8th February last year to mark the Centenary of Elizabeth Bishop's birth.

Dungeness

I think the people live here because the stone has managed to flower, and the way the land and sea and sky form a continuum vaster than the eye can encompass, must allow them to see themselves and each other more clearly. If one were Elizabeth Bishop, one would probably think of the line ‘awful but cheerful’.

Scattered over the treeless pebbly flat are dozens of hammered-together temporary-looking bungalows, shell-coloured, hugging the ground, with washing-lines flapping bright loads, and the odd stoved-in, upturned hull.

Perhaps as a gesture of solidarity, there are no walls or fences or boundary marks of any sort: only patches of strange, tenacious flora growing against the odds in shingle stretching from door to door: sea kale and sea cabbage, dwarf broom and dwarf hawthorn, twisted and stunted by the unrelenting wind.

Above the steep shore rid…