I recall walking out there,
the tide high, the English Channel choppy,
it's southerly winds pushing me back
as if denying access to Hurst Castle -
demonstration of Nature's superior power.
My last memory
of my red flip flops, traversing the shingle spit.
I was staring at the distant castle, I guess.
An intrepid explorer full of fervour: me,
but without my agoraphobic handicap.
Just me and the sharp pebbles, a conscious union -
as if my rapidly disintegrating, unsuitable footwear
represented the will of stone consciousness,
was the monument's entry requirement.
My cut and bruised feet
a symbol of pilgrimage,
a wordless but satisfying communication
with the shingle.
Offering my blood, for the thin tongue
of the spit to devour hungrily.
it's significance way beyond my comprehension
at the time, but filed in memory's archive
for later interpretation. It was like
primitive man trying to decipher
As I finally achieved the Grail of my quest,
it's mystique brought effective analgesia
to mutilated feet...I was utterly enthralled.
It was well worth the pain.
Perhaps it is merely an old structure to most,
too lost in time to make it relevant today.
But to me it was alive, was crowded
with all those who'd dwelt within it's walls
down the centuries - and, of course,
it's most famous prisoner:
the Cavalier figurehead, Charles I.
Oh how dashing a character,
in white lace and frills - I
watched, spellbound, as he crossed
the courtyard as far as the barred gate
and then vanished into thin air.
Was I spooked?
Far from it.
All I could think of was the excruciating shame
of being in the presence of Royalty
at the very moment my flip flops, much beloved,
finally fell apart! 😉