This poem I wrote recently, but refers to a time early on in this decade when I was still living in my hometown, Blackpool. I spent many, many times walking up and down the cliff tops at Bispham, Norbreck and North Shore and really thought of it as my territory. Having miles of sea to look out on and views towards the distant Lakeland fells to the north, Snowdonia to the south and, on a really good day, the distant humps of the Isle of Man really works wonders on one’s mind, especially if on a downer or feeling blue-and the sea air is absolutely magnificent. The last part of the poem refers to a summer’s evening at twilight when I paused by a local landmark known as the cabin lift to look due southwards, right down the coast. I fancied I could see the distant lights of Liverpool (and you can see the city quite distinctly when up in the air when taking off from the old Blackpool Airport-I have), but looking again at a map I think of this particular occasion I was looking at Southport, halfway between the two and easily visible from the southern Fylde, but (so I thought) too south-easterly to be seen from where I was. The first part of the poem refers to the coast in general and particularly Barrow-in-Furness to the north, largely invisible by day from where I hail from apart from its enormous shipyards but suddenly apparent by its many twinkling lights at nightfall.
Anyway, without further ado, here’s the poem:
Hiding in plain view by day,
And becoming apparent at night.
As silhouettes sharpen and grow, and hazes diminish, the first twinkles begin.
Like candles sat on water, each one delineating our coastline from space.
This coastline, estuaries and bays.
I search for the vantage points.
I know a few.
The westwards facing shoreline.
The racing of the inland waterways to meet it,
Or their sluggish transition to the brine.
I see it, in my mind.
But back to these lights.
The night I was on the high point of my own urban cliffs and I perceived the city to the south.
Liverpool Bay, a way away.
I know it was you.