Skipping Stones

Skipping Stones.




Already at home, here, the Celts,

On their fire island, in this corner of Kent

Long called Thanet, the gift, settled

The headland they knew as the Horn

– Or, in the Old English tongue as


And what we now call today Herne Bay.


Carved from the mainland of Britain

By the great sea lane of Wantsum, once

Wide, vital channel, brimming

With trade and invading armadas:

Swathed in Roman canvas and clinkered


Nordic oars, in unison, bristled

The silting water and open skies, shattered

Skeins of Brent Geese, migrating, and bothered

Curlews and Turnstones,

On shingled shoreline,

Into splashes of noise and colour,

And fading…

Until just reflection and ripple remain.

And then, as now,

Just brickearth and gravel,

Memory and name.

But, never





Barnes Wallis stands on the beachhead at Herne.

Granite and bronzed, casting a glance

Seaward. He dreams.

He schemes, he wonders, remembers

Skipping stones, as a boy,

Over the water –












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