Scolt Head Island - Kevin Crossley-Holland

Scolt Head Island. Moored Man: ‘Making the Island’

Kevin Crossley-Holland

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.


Sss-sk! Sss-sk!

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

Scolt Head Island, NHER 26653



Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2024 Norfolk Historic Environment Service