Marsh Running by Richard Williams




Marsh Running












We all have our reasons

To leave warm beds for darkness;

some will never run satisfied

as if the stopwatch can ever be beaten,

I crave the peace to finally be alone,

from broken pavements and rutted roads

beyond orange streetlight’s stupor glow,

along Hilsea Lines where guns were stowed,

waiting for a command that never came.

To Eastern Road then Farlington,

a spit of marsh and reclaimed land

sky so deep and wide and every shade;

to slip into the birthing of each new day

to lose myself in this halfway place.


Counting species beyond the concrete wall

Brent Geese from an Arctic winter,

An Oystercatcher’s brilliant flash,

tucked in wings of a Dunlin flight,

the keening peal of Curlew

above the tinnitus toil of traffic.

On the way out and on the way in.

Seagulls, always seagulls,

just once I saw a barn owl ghosting

through bare trees soaked in mist,

three seconds that will stay for ever.

Slower now I plod the same way home

from nature reserve to inner city

along this shadow-strewn path.



Richard Williams