the levels at Pett

March 10, 2011

Cliff End is an area of Pett level, sheltered from the sea with a high embankment. It  marks one end of the Royal Military Canal – the other finishing at Hythe. Shallow marsh with lakes and reedbeds that offers overwintering to many birds. It’s a place of wonderment!

The late afternoon offers this dreamy vision across the layers of texture. The light sits and almost sighs before changing to stronger contrasts.

More ‘vertical features remade’. Empty sheep pens that look all folded up in the complexity of openings and side panels. They maybe oak, or are they hazel – to discover.

I assume from the title that Ireland is the home to the poem below although it seems to be about many places?  To me, the description and underlying atmosphere echoes my connection to the levels. So . . .

Even before I’ve left, I long
for this place. For hay brought in before the rain,
its stooks like stanzas, for glossy cormorants
that make metal eyes and dive like hooks,
fastening the bodices of the folding tide
which unravels in gardens of carraigin.
I walk with the ladies who throw stones at the surge
and their problems, don’t answer the phone
in the ringing kiosk. Look. In the clouds
hang pewter promontories, long bays
whose wind-indented silent coasts
make me homesick for where I’ve not been.
Quicksilver headlands shoot into the night
till distance and the dying of day
dull steel and vermillion to simple lead
blown downward to the dark, then out of sight. 

Gwyneth Lewis  The Flaggy Shore

2 Responses to “the levels at Pett”

  1. elizabeth Says:

    Julia –how astoundingly English….. but then it would be
    but captured so well.

  2. julia fogg Says:

    Yes, one forgets it must seem so ‘pastoral’ to others. It is a unique landscape where humans really aren’t important – hurrah!


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