There is something about the air at Keyhaven that generates poetry in my head. This short piece of prose comes from walks along the shingle bank and salt marsh, and a trip on the ferry shorewards.
Keyhaven: memories and poetry
Between the shingle bank and salt marsh, the sea is shallow and calm, even when waves are raging on the other side. Once, the wind was so strong we had to hunker down on the lee side to avoid being blown off our feet. On a calmer day, a small boy was enchanted by the pebbles; he collected them in handfuls, exclaiming over them as if they were the most fabulous treasure, stuffing them into his trouser pockets until they sagged to his knees, then emptying them out to make room for more. Back and forth he ran, covering the distance from the shore to Hurst Castle many times over in his quest. That evening, he said, ‘This has been the best day of my life,’ just before sleep overtook him.
Once, on the ferry from the castle, we were passing a row of shiny boats, Skugga, Sea Eagle, Sylphe and Seren Wen, tugging at their moorings in the breeze, when a kite surfer flew over us and a poem hatched in my head – about an earthbound aged body housing a soaring, sky-surfing spirit.
Once, walking along the saltmarsh under scudding cloud-wrack, another poem grew from a sudden inexplicable need to name our last, miscarried child. It came from everywhere, called across the waves, sang in the salty wind; I named her Ilma, my child of the air.