There is a church at Tintagel

Tintagel Travel Blog

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All looking the same way...
It is called St Materiana's.  All the gravestones face inland.  I wrote a couple of poems about why that might be.

*******************
Gravestones’ Backs Seaward
I
Naked flames dyed the surf yellow,
Obscuring all but the brightest stars.
Some men sat whilst others stood,
Skirting a circular sarcen of fallen cliff.
They waited.

Arturo arrived dressed as they:  Armoured
In the skins of the bear and deer
Whose essence he had stolen,
Growing bristle through green dye that stained
Half his face.

His companion stood beyond
The shadows of the light,
In betwixt rattling pebbles.
...And covered in moss

His heron’s frame and
Juvenile grey plumage
Influencing.
Commanding.

 
And Arturo spoke.
“Let this circle be our fiefdom.
It shall bind us to the land.
And let the water be the limit.
Whose untrustworthy, beckoning words shall converse
With our backs.”

The scarred arm of the King threw
A blade into a pirouette
Lingering in the sky
For all of the time it took to hold each man
In his eye

In synchronicity, he and             the heron
Both turned and strode away,
Away from a chattering sea
And a vertical sword that quivered in their
Fallen table

Now all the men stood
Each turned toward their homes
With their backs toward the sea.

 
II
No rays broke the surface as she fell,
Rolling.
Differently to the way she had played in the meadows…

Looping with inertia as gravity
Grabbed one shoulder,
Rolled the next,
At knots-that-she-would-never-forget.
From Godrevy Point and as good as anything in Central America

Gulls followed her lazy arc
Before, laughing, she came to rest lying on her chest,
Enjoying the nausea of play,
Watching ephemeral flies
Rise from the tracks her journey described
In flattened grass and petal-less flowers.

Behind her smeared green shoulders,
Below the meadow,
The swell spoke:
Throwing rash words,
And riptide remarks.
Showering the shore
In saltine-ice sparks.

That cliff-foot tharump compelled her to spend Sundays sat
With one leg crossed across the other,
Staring back at the face
Of a sea-stack that loomed,
Or frowned,
Or clowned
Around.
Writing universal jokes
Under a heckling Atlantic sky
That, on days like this day
Offered rays of neither Sun
Nor hope.
To this child that,
Quite naturally,
Only heard the approach
And beseech of an abnormal wave,
Shouting at her back
In a language she did not know.
“Hold, Sweetness.  Hold!”

Monstrous water
As a Giant’s hand,
Thwacking the back of a choking infant,
Expelling all breath.
Throwing her forward and
Dragging her backward
Across glass-paper barnacles
Using salt-water manacles,
And into the surf.
Rolling.
Broiling.
Abruptly shifting position,
Snapping to an extra dimension
Only imagined by spiralling pigtails,
Back, up on the meadow.

There is no give in the ocean,
No thickness of moss over soil.
But just granite:
Sharp bits of planet.
Studded in shell,
Shaped by a swell
Which conspire together to
Crack bone,
Strip flesh,
Trap hair.

The stone they erected faced inwards
And slowly attracted moss.



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All looking the same way...
All looking the same way...
...And covered in moss
...And covered in moss
From Godrevy Point and as good as …
From Godrevy Point and as good as…
Tintagel
photo by: Vikram