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Ardnamurchan

This is a remote shoreline in the West Highlands that I travel to frequently from the city of London. I’m fascinated not only by how land a sea meet there, but also by how the past and future meet, and how the city and the remote shore are connected.

Ardnamurchan

Guarded by lone curlew calls
far north west shore, thin border
between worlds shifting

I lift a gaze to the beach raised
cliff-hanging, dizzy like a mezzanine
bed, abandoned by ocean

That once, moon tugged
lapped and slept high above
my head, and will do so again

I envy the border-crossers
pelt as passport to land and sea
otter, water mouse, intertidal beaver

Future creatures, hiding as we
walk-out our time, biding theirs
ready to inherit when we no longer fit

I swam in March, in seconds turned
purple, it’s meant to make the blood
flow, my numb hands disagreed

In Kentra Bay an oak leaf underwater
black as the coal its ancestors became
catching light like wealth

This coast has singing sands, silica
that moans when you tread, as if
walking on a lazy giant's back

And beneath the sand lies rusting anger
shells that don’t echo ocean, but
old wars, sleeping until a step too deep

In the shallows, around my toes
something else, that still more distant
past waiting slowly to explode

The City far south as fuse, its profits from
grave robbing, burning ancient forest
modern cliffs confusing pigeons

Offices high like the hanging beach
forgotten that it’s sure thing, so near
a local shore, also is open to the waves

Look up to look back, they say, but
with each carbon footstep, alongside
the rising tides, I see the future too
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Andrew Simms

Andrew Simms

Andrew Simms is an author, political economist and campaigner. He is co-director of the New Weather Institute (newweather.org), coordinator of the Rapid Transition Alliance (rapidtransition.org), assistant director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, ...

Recitals

Near Kentra, Acharacle, UK

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