The Cliffs at St Margaret’s Bay

A mighty edifice, built not of block on block, but grain on grain.

How many years? I run my hand along the black flints set in chalk, would read them as a blind man on a line of braille. The fossil claw and ammonite become a code.

It is in awe we know there walked a ruling species without words or law, as self-assured as I may tread this pebbled beach.

I raise my eyes to where the sun beats on the Downs. There the wind blows through the empty sockets of a ram. It moans an organ note so deep and clear – intones a valediction on the knowing sea and speaks a truth that I am ill-equipped to hear.

Cliff at St Margarets

© Caroline Fox Betts
2005

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