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Stephen Kingsnorth

We mostly oversaw sweep swathe,

grey harbour curl of skips and rope,

wallow ketch, coils, lobsterpots

surveyed, calf ache kept at bay

by sloping backwards up the hill

until we reached the cobbled steep;

steps, our own St Michael’s mount,

parish church and smugglers’ rest -

greaseproof leak from thermos flask.


Red apples - before lingua franca brand -

delicious stored in khaki bags -

haversacks with buttons, brass -

crunched as climbed, receding shore,

heather, ling on hanging moor;

distant belch seen silent stretch,

tracks towards the sea-stop line,

hidden yarn and castle tip

guarding alabaster cliffs.



On the strand - I flinch at thought -

metal spade edge thrust on toe,

after tears, a ‘Daddy boat’,

dug and raised, on sand afloat,

draggled feather, mussel shells

prod on prow, the pride of fleet,

launched as tide recedes, row before

firm powder dries, flutter flagged, interest, 

awash with waves or sniffing dogs.

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Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including The Parliament Literary Journal.  His blog is at

Conor Barnes
Tell Them

Stephen Kingsnorth

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