Sunday, 22 June 2014

At The Edge Of The Known World

Thornham harbour, 
At the edge of the known world.
Here come Fishbait and Crabbucket,
two boys half-grown,
the salty wind tugging at their mud-matted hair.

It's a June-day afternoon,
any time in the last few centuries.

Fishbait scans the blurred horizon
Watches for fisherboats from the rickety jetty
And practises his knots and hitches,
Legs dangling in the uncertain breeze.

Crabbucket doesn't care.
Crabbucket squelches down to the water's edge
In the here and now of an eternal summer's day.
Doesn't know about yesterday.
Doesn't care about tomorrow.

Behind them the village stands on solid ground, 
Square-built with flint walls and red rooftiles.
Place of elderly gardeners and maiden aunts,
Given the slip by half-grown boys
Who hide out, pirate-fashion, among the creeks and mudhollows.

The sea murmurs and slurs, restless and unfathomable.
Fishbait dreams of boats and tides,
Of sandbanks and deepwater channels.
Fishbait in his sea-captain's cap.

Here where land and sea dispute reality
Crabbucket flushes the panicky Redshank 
As he bumbles through the drowsy Sea Lavender
Looking for mythic treasure.

Two boys half-grown
With a precarious toe-hold
On the cormorant-black mudslime
At the edge of the known world.

Take care.


  1. Wonderful black and whites! It works great on all of them. Well done John.

  2. Starkly beautiful and poignant --
    the contrast of the tides is strange and almost frightening to my eye
    not usually a fan of black and white, but it does serve the mood of this tale

  3. I just love this John and can't help wondering if you are really one of the boys involved.

  4. Hmmm, do you speak from experience? :-)
    The black and white photos are perfect with this story-poem.

  5. Great collection of pix, and story!

  6. Truly beautiful photographs. Wonderful poetic story-telling. I'm going to send a link to this to a friend who does black and white photography. He's going to love it!

  7. I forget sometimes the creativity black and white can give to the imagination. Your poem perfectly enhances your pictures. I can 'see' the two boys exploring, discovering the 'edge of an unknown world' both without and within. You have the gift of story-telling.

  8. Lyrical prose/poetry of the magic of childhood. No care for the morrow . . . I wish.
    Beautifully illustrated too John.

  9. Great poetry and photography, John.

  10. What a lovely post - an idyllic timeless world.

  11. Brilliant series of nautical black and white images to accompany your words John, really enjoyed!

  12. Your photos are mesmerizing to the eye along with the story lines accompanying your piece. I love the whole combination and can't say enough about the sense of timelessness in your photos.

  13. I've really enjoyed this! Your photos are amazing and I like the two characters in the story you have woven around them:)

  14. A fantastic post both in words and pictures.

  15. Written so well that I could almost see the two boys. Your photos are perfect for what you have written.

  16. A truly wonderful post John. Black and white is perfect not only for this landscape but also to allow the reader to add imagine the colour encouraged by your descriptive prose. Can't wait for the next installment to discover if Fishbaits treasure becomes more than a myth. Bravo to you.

  17. ...your black and white photography is super John; I especially liked the intro' shot

  18. wow wow wow wow wow ... love these photographs ... came here via Folkways Notebook and so glad I did ...

  19. Lovely monochrome shots! Such great stories each shot tells!


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