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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Claire Everett

The Strandline

of marram grass
reclaim the ash mounds
between smoke plumes
a heron's fading light

Nature is beginning to claw back what man has taken. Grasses thrive on the remains of fires where seawater was evaporated to crystallise salt. Cormorants fish in the dark waters of Greatham Creek and short-eared owls and peregrine falcons perch on industrial chimneys.

beneath a sky of sulphur
a pebbled shore
in the raptor's eye

This oasis of calm, an intertidal mud flat, glints sepia, speckled, fawn and pale silver-grey, in the midst of heavy industry. Oblivious to the traffic's din, the smell of petro-chemicals and the nuclear power station’s shadow, a few stragglers from the only regular breeding colony of harbour seals on England's north east coast, lift their dark eyes to our presence, but make no sound. Those at rest nuzzle and nestle, alert to danger, yet sensual, tactile, aware of no other moment but this.