Brian P FitzGerald

On Bempton Cliffs

I hear the waves below the cliffs,
I smell the new-ploughed soil,
I hear the gentle whirr of bees
And watch the clouds pass me by.

On top of Bempton Cliffs I stand,
A headland proud, above the shore.
Far below the rocks withstand
The thud and crash of North Sea waves.

The sun above: its light now dancing
On waves below in glittering sparkles;
A fleeting spray, a momentary halo
Of diamonds, flashing high.

The sunlight catches the flutt'ring wings
Of puffins racing across the spray.
Noisy kittiwakes with fish they bring
To nests that cling to ledges so high.

From heights above a lark now sings,
Unseen, but soaring high and free.
From east the gentle breeze now brings
The sounds of surf from far below

Overhead, the keening cries
Of herring gulls who swoop and fly,
Proclaiming ‘tis they who rule the skies
Above the cliffs and sea so high.

Through the fiendish bustle below
Haughty gannets sleekly glide,
No lordly favours to any bestow,
Onward, unperturbed, side by side.

Puffins and gulls in crowded profusion;
Their nests on ledges inches wide,
Perched on cliff in perilous fashion -
A frenzied city on rock face clinging.

Above I see the soaring chase
And hear the restless realms below;
I feel the sun upon my face
And feel the breeze so gently blow.

The sun is warm, air now still,
My drowsy mind is put to test
As back I lie on chalky till,
Perchance to ponder as now I rest.

Detached from all I start to think
Of heaven's domains in the skies
And restless realms upon the brink,
With life frenetic and shrieking cries.

A cliff-hanging city, so congested,
Squabbling and scrabbling above the rocks;
Above, a world not constrained,
Fresh and free in every way.

One below, one so high.
One so brutal, one so free -
On the cliffs and in the sky;
What manner of worlds are these I see?

I hear the waves below the cliffs,
I smell the new-ploughed soil,
I hear the gentle whirr of bees
And sleepily see the clouds slip by…….

(East Yorkshire 21 September 2013)

Submitted: Thursday, June 19, 2014

Topic of this poem: bird

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

This poem is set high up on the 330 foot Chalk cliffs of Bempton, north of Bridlington in East Yorkshire. It was written following many visits to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reserve with its shop, café, viewing platforms and very helpful guides.

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