Scolt Head Island. Moored Man: ‘Making the Island’
Moored Man, a beautiful, dangerous, enduring shape-changer, is the subject of the cycle of poems I published in 2006, with watercolours and etchings by Norman Ackroyd. Moored Man is, in effect, the spirit of the complex mesh of saltmarshes, tidal creeks, sand dunes, sand-flats and shingle ridges on the north Norfolk coast. He moulds dykes, carts gravel, eats jetties and groynes, cuts off the unwary, drowns children, howls over them, dances, tries to understand who and what he is. In this poem, Moored Man creates the tidal island of Scolt Head.
This poem is the copyright of Kevin Crossley-Holland and is reproduced by permission of the Enitharmon Press.
Moored Man: Making the Island
Because it welled up - a single keen wave
out of the flatcalm of his mind.
He squelched and splashed north.
He waded out
a mile and more
up to his thighs, his hips.
To see felicity.
On the hazy bar he began.
With both feet he scratched and scraped
like a wild sea-cat covering its faeces,
until his ankles were bloody and raw.
Then he kicked. He kicked.
So the Polar reach
would end in his ears.
The gravel flew and dropped,
it swarmed and swirled like chaff
in the murky water.
Longshore drift did the rest.
Pebbles and grit swam
and settled in new stations.
They rose above themselves
out of the water.
Soft echoes in the cavern of his mouth.
Time and wind.
A shining cap of sand!
Sea-kale, tugging at its roots.
Sea-holly, growing beautiful
as it grows old.
He strikes sounds on his sandpaper tongue.
Sss-sk! Tt! Tt!
The sun draws its blade
over his welling land.
Because it was not there.
He stares at his island
and knows he is beautiful.
For more information about Kevin’s work visit www.kevincrossley-holland.com
Scolt Head Island, NHER 26653