Sometimes I get to read poetry written by proper poets. Observing the depth and meaning of their writing, I feel as if I’m standing staring at a puddle when an unseen ocean laps the shore in front of me. The other day I read ‘Dover Beach’ published in 1867 by famous poet Mathew Arnold (1822-1888) As I was in East Kent at the end of last week, I decided to look up Dover Beach for myself and see what I’d make of it…
Of Dover Beach there was no sign,
nothing poetic, nothing to rhyme.
A vast expanse of modern concrete,
wind-blown sea-spray as cold as sleet.
In the distance cross-channel ferries,
jostle for position like adversaries,
shuttling off to Northern France,
choreographed as a giant’s first dance.
On Calais beach looking out to sea,
two dark eyes stare back at me,
across from France asylum’s waiting,
so near but far and so frustrating,
her child was drowned in the Aegean Sea,
through a fog of tears she can’t see me.
I was disappointed by Dover Beach,
that so many give their all to reach,
instead of saying “What the f**k”
perhaps I should just count my luck.
If only I had thought and tried,
I should have known it was high tide!