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Friday, 15 February 2013

THE CURSE OF BEACHY HEAD

 
 
All around her the biting wind howled,
carrying fragmented echoes
of children's voices: happy laughter
as they chased each other - sometimes
perilously close to the lethal cliff edge,
where tall reed-like grasses bowed and rippled
as if paying homage to some ancient God;
all powerful...and merciless.
 
 "Afternoon."
Startled, she spun around to see
a man walking his dog.
Probably hurrying home to his contented wife
and happy home she thought enviously,
as she continued to climb the steep path
to it's highest point.
Once there she stood poised on the ridge
and watched the winter sun
striking the waves far below, like
watery lightening zig-zagging across
it's heaving surface.
 
Numb with despair and self-loathing,
she felt less than nothing: would much rather
be that discarded beer can on the path
than what she was -
his living, breathing punch bag;
bruised and abused, unloved, unwanted and
devoid of hope.
At least that can would never suffer
this endless pain.
 
Nowhere to hide here, the wind
seemed to whisper in her ear.
And her broken heart began to race,
beating it's now familiar tattoo:
Set me free. Set me free. Set me free.
Then a vortex of air enclosed her,
tugging her hair skywards as the sea
over two hundred metres below
formed itself into steps leading downwards.
Led Zeppelin's  "Stairway to Heaven"
began playing inside her head.
But, does the wind blow in Heaven?
she wondered.
Suddenly a gull appeared.
It hovered directly in front of her face
and the Angel opened her wings.
A peculiar calm washed over her
as she stepped off the cliff edge
and into that Angel's loving embrace...
 
Far below, a beer can rode up onto the shore
with the tide and came to rest
amongst the pebbles.
It's crushed and battered form
glistening in the healing rays of the Sun
made it appear content,
at peace.
 
And the gulls' mournful cries
announced the latest victim
of the curse of Beachy Head.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


20 comments:

  1. So cool, even if sad and tragic, it played out in my mind like a wide screen cinema film.

    I also enjoyed my followup reading about Beachy Head. Thanks Ygraine for another tale well written and for showing me another beautiful part of your country.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Gnome.
      It is a beautiful area, but it has a high suicide rate.
      I have been there a few times, and it does have a strange atmosphere. When you stand on the cliff edge, the beach so far below appears strangely close, as if you could simply step onto it.
      As soon as I felt that. I was off!!

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  2. Superb, this; it has reignited all my mixed feelings about the place. I went there first with a school friend. We cycled from South London, just chose it as a destination. What struck me most was the telephone box, put there, we were told, for would-be suicides to phone the Samaritans. And then there was the excitement of how near did we dare go to the edge. I've been there many times since, several times by bike before my Dad retired to Eastebourne and often after that. I still have mixed feelings and I think I always will have.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Dave.
      The area does hold a strange lure, doesn't it?
      I have returned quite a few times, but I no longer venture too near the edge. Don't believe in tempting fate:/

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  3. You have transformed a tragedy into melancholic beauty. I felt her pain at being abused and feeling there was no way out. I felt the calm of the angel's presence. And I felt the quiet emptiness ,after the gull's cries, that must have hung there afterwards. So well done. xo

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Nyssa.
      This just sort of grew out of the atmosphere of Beachy Head.
      It is an incredibly beautiful place, but it has a deeply melancholic atmosphere.
      Don't think I'd like to be here alone - it could get inside my head!
      xxx

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  4. There was both sadness and beauty mixed in this piece. Truly takes a special talent to convey them both. I have noticed that in many of your posts.

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    Replies
    1. I so appreciate that, Keith. Thank you very much.
      I just love writing, whether fictional or true. It makes me feel free...at least in my mind!
      Have a good weekend :)

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  5. So brilliant Ygraine, Excellent imagery just wonderful, I felt every emotion that poor girl was feeling tasted the sea felt the wind and heard the gulls. Excellent writing as usual dear lady.

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    Replies
    1. Many many thanks Rose.
      I'd been meaning to write this ever since my last visit there, back in June.
      Finally did it!
      Hehe :D

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  6. Hi again Ygraine, I suppose it is people who taint a geographical location with the musings of melancholia...The ancient God you refer to I'm sure is objectively beyond the ethics of cultural impositions. Curiously, you weave the image of the beer can as the symbol of a modern, polluted mindset, and its power in the great scheme of its location pales into relative insignificance when nature reasserts itself over its territory. The curse I'm sure is embedded in nature's revulsion of human frailty - it's like a riddle, warning those who come looking for sympathy that they may only find their own deepest imaginings.
    You should have a go at writing short stories Ygraine. The narrative framework of much of your poetry lends itself to a more thorough development of its material.......just a suggestion. Mixing poetry and short stories is not an incompatible recipe for expression. I love your writing ....

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    Replies
    1. William, I am overwhelmed by your comments.
      You have picked up on the exact message I was trying so hard to get across. I often think my writing fails rather miserably to express what I would like it to, but you make me feel that I have finally made it. And I cannot thank you enough for that.
      As for those who come looking for sympathy only to find themselves confronted by their own deepest imaginings...that is exactly how I felt when I first visited this peculiar place.
      Perhaps there is an aura here that has built up over the years and is composed of all the anxiety and despair of those poor unfortunate suicides.

      I have written short stories in the past, but after numerous rejection slips, I lost confidence in trying and decided to concentrate on my poetry. It has always been my first love!

      I have been regularly visiting your blog in the hope that you will write again soon.
      Please do? I so miss your posts...

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  7. Invitation - inglês
    I'm Brazilian.
    Spent reading here, and visit his blog.
    I also have one, only much simpler.
    I'm inviting you to visit me, and if possible follow together for them and with them. I always liked to write, expose and share my ideas with people, regardless of class Social, Religious Creed, the Sexual Orientation, or, of Ethnicity.
    To me, what will interest is our exchange of ideas, and, thoughts.
    I'm there in my space Simpleton, waiting for you.
    And I'm already following your blog.
    Strength, Peace, Friendship and Happiness
    For you, a hug from Brazil.
    www.josemariacosta.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jose,
      Thank you so much for reading my blog, and for becoming my follower.
      It is good to communicate and exchange thoughts and ideas with others, isn't it?
      I am looking forward to visiting your blog. I will be there shortly!
      A hug from Hampshire :)

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  8. Even though it's got a very sad ending, I was enthralled by your poem. As a Zep fan I loved that little nod to Jimmy and the boys. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!
      So glad you liked it (in spite of the ending!).
      I am a fan of their music too, particularly that track. It's so haunting, isn't it?

      Hope you had a great weekend.

      Greetings from Hampshire :)

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  9. Zephead in da house! your words are as moving as always. :)
    and where IS that place?

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    1. Thanks IcyHighs. Really appreciate that.
      Beachy Head is on the south-east coast of England, in East Sussex.
      Well worth a visit if you're ever in the area! :)

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  10. Hats off to you. That is great poetry. It's good to meet you, Ygraine! :)

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    Replies
    1. Many thanks for visiting, David.
      So glad you liked the poem.
      Really great to meet you too! :)

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my posts.
I really appreciate hearing your opinions...:)