Lighthouse 23 Launch Party

I shall be reading two of my poems as part of the Launch Party for Issue 23 of Lighthouse Journal on Friday 21st January 2022 (from 7:30pm). Information and registration here:

Copies of the Journal (which include my poem cuckoo-mourning) can be bought here:

Black Joy (skeletal remains)

remains associated with the soundwork ‘Black Joy’ at NWT Visitor Centre (NR25 7SA) from 1st July to 1st August 2021 …

“During the invasion scare of 1587, Edmund Yorke drew up a complex plan of an earthwork rampart backing Salthouse Marshes, with tow forts at either end, one adjoining the rampart at Weybourne, the other separated from the rampart at CleyHaven. This latter fort, lack Joy Fort was planned to be a six-pointed star fort with ravelins between each face, the first example of such an advanced design in England. it ws probably Yorke’s solution to the rapid rebuilding of an existing unbastioned sconce. Some part of the defences existed then as orders were given to enlarge `the sconce at Weybourne Hoop’. It is unlikely that the plan was was cried out beyond strengthening the extant sconce as the Armad commenced soon after the plan was drawn up.”

[source: last accessed 30th June 2021]

Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley, Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley, Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley, Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley, Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley, Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley,

indistinctly, amongst Holes and Eyes,

cut, raised, ditch, bank

between New Cut and banked shingle

Half Moon sets to the east

beacons, buoys, and mud

repeatedly crowd Cow’s brackish waters

buried, eroded and destroyed by doubt

history realigning Clay Old Walls

reading a copy’s digital detail

with theoretical sophistication, originality and pragmatism

Yorke’s hasty map maps indistinctions,

marred by smudges and corrections

lines overlay to cover dead ground

an eight-pointed star, of

elaborate geometry, of

ravelins and bastions

inked re-iteratively onto

landform washes …

and retreat this defence

through page border

surrounded by water

facing South the threat

is from below, behind,

from an Ocean of gently brushed waves

an intent of management for the sure line

against the Spannyard’s projected invasion

and conquest of England

to garde ye entry at Claye Haven:

Mr. Catling’s paced lines.

A sinuous zig-zag of scanty remains,

faltering through Marsh grasses;

not clues for a defensive failure

destroyed by floods

Black Sey? The writing is unclear

a toponymic re-membering, misreading, mishearing

re-pronounced as Black Joy

an error creeping through time and language,

a fluidity of words for a fluid coastline.

Hold this unsure line of words

ye sheare deip Seas

beateth upon the Shores with a mighty noise

a possibility of increasing tidal prisms

adapting to the translation of line and language

an instability entrusted to transactional monitoring

and active management

maintaining a standard of protection

through the uncertainty of timing

along undefended line

implying a more complex process

of long, sure, drifting words

detail from Edmund Yorke’s 1588 map showing the proposed design of Black Joy fort. The map is held in the collection of Hatfield House.

Camden, William. Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Translated by Philemon Holland. London: George Bishop and John Norton, 1610.

Cozens-Hardy, Basil. “Norfolk Coastal Defences in 1588.” Norfolk Archaeological Journal, Vol XXVI (1940): 311.

Hooton, Jonathan. The Glaven Ports: a Maritime History of Blakeney, Cley and Wiveton in North Norfolk. Blakeney: Blakeney History Group, 1996.

Kent, Peter. Fortifications of East Anglia. Lavenham: Terence Dalton, 1988.

North Norfolk Shoreline Management Plan. Environment Agency et al, 2010.

O’Neill, B.H. St. J. “The Fortifications of Weybourne Hope in 1588.” Norfolk Archaeological Journal, Vol XXVII, 2 (1940): 250-262.

Ordnance Survey. Explorer Sheet 251, Norfolk Coast Central: Wells-next-the-Sea & Fakenham. Southampton: Ordnance Survey, 2015.

_____________. Norfolk Sheet IV 16. Southampton: Ordnance Survey Office, 1906. Robertson, David et al. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Archaeological Survey (part 1). Norwich: Norfolk Archaeological Unit, 2005.


struggling for time and motivation … half-heartedly struggling … half-hopedly. Seeking a grit to build on, a feature of some kind; something salvaged from the landscape of the local but exhibiting possibilities beyond the burden of ‘sense of place’ perhaps. It could have that too, if it so wishes … without a possibility of wishing. Probably. Pffft. Pit. PIT. pit. A tangle of uncertainties. The obligatory pour of agricultural rubbish (pit > dump … Stig?).
It’s a site of digging, of excavation; quicker then, quicker than the slow filling now. Can it sustain a fragment of practice?
With the advent of wood anemones at the pit’s erstwhile entrance it could inspire a quasi-historic descriptive text. But ‘pit’ … an etymological excavation? A small test pit of discovery perhaps amongst the ivy and brambles. Art historically maybe some kinship should be claimed with the subject matter of Crome; the geography is right and the feel of the place could become a “poem vibrating with life.” 1
But not for itself, as something else. A stepping off point, a point of departure but one which remains a point of reference even at the most seemingly pointless of times. A pointless pit. What is this ‘pit’? What can it do? Where will it go?