October 18, 2010

Up above the town on the bell tower roof, the watery surroundings of Rye make clear defined marks within the landscape. 


To the east, newish landmarks have been spread out. As a group, they look rather delicate and fine from this distance and they have pinpointed where the rainbow ends   . . .

The river Rother, wide enough for some boat traffic, with a gentle meandering footprint more obvious at low tide  . . .

 . . . the river and the lagoons . . . and the Ypres tower . . .

 . . and swinging towards the south west and a glimpse of a stream snaking its way towards a dark mass . . . 

 . .  Camber Castle built by Henry VIII . . . such an elegant waterway . . . .  quite different from the firm strong line of  the canal . .

 . . . the Royal Military Canal built to protect the flatlands from the new Emperor . . .

 . .  looking down as against into the distance . . . .  a landscape of roofs, tiles, angles and narrow spaces  . . .

 . .  with Henry James’  house beyond the  small pill-box tower of the church  . . .

 . .  and then, swinging right around to the north . . . and looking in more detail down, down . .

 . .  just below the parapet I catch a glimpse of a putto shoulder and need to discover what he is holding  . . .  looks intriguing  . . .

 . .  just balancing a bell.

And a final look upwards and then back down to what is happening on the street.

Not so ethereal more about day-to-day important matters like filling the stomach!

Van Dyck drew it from the South
From the river, seeing a plateau,
The great church riding eastward
In its tideless ocean of faith.

From the East, coming over the marsh
Or from the golf-club it’s a pyramid
With the church tower at the top.
A black silhouette in the twilight.

Turner halfway from Winchelsea,
From the West, romantically stationed
Upon some dangerous sea-stropped
Causeway of his imagination.

Drew Camber Castle flaoted away
Almost hull-down to the east
And Rye in a spotlight,  half Italian,
And half as it were a volcano.

With smoke and fire belching
From the church, it is always the church
That crowns the unique town.

From the North you come down hill
From the mainland then climb again,
Up this rocky hillock like a moraine heap:
Rye is an island, St Mary’s Mount.

Is also a castle, should have a drawbridge,
There are aeons of life in this pyramid,
Fire in this volcano,–
Is also like a beautifully jewelled broach
Worn at South England’s throat,
As land gives way to channel:
The Tillingham mates with the Brede
And both mix in the Rother
The sweet and the salt waters,
Below Watchbell Street and under
The eyes of the Ypres Tower,
Last dry land or first island,
A place between past and future,
A historic present to speak of
In a language of salty silence
That is sweet on every tongue.   Topographical  Patric Dickinson.

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