Into the Sea

We are crumbling,
eroding into
­                       the sea
with our pigmentations
of blue, brown and green,
accompanied by a withering
wind and scent of rain. Dithering
on mouldering marsh and
­                                                 collapsing
dune, we – doggedly – continue clasping
our inheritance firmly to our chests. The only
link to mainland lies
­                               beneath
­                                     waves,
­                                          sunk with history:
Doggerland, the path that mammoths dared to tread.
Those gargantuan pachyderms,
­                                                       many centuries dead,
left only bones as testament,
­                                                    phosphorus to fertilise our green
and pleasant countryside while furrowed fields and shady woodlands
are rolling,
­                      tumbling like loaded dice,
­                                                                 crumbling into sea and sand.

Kim M. Russell, 26th March 2019

Image result for North Norfolk coast and Doggerland
Image found on

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: On Geography, also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform and earthweal open link weekend #61

Anmol is our Poetics host this week, with an Annie Dillard quote and a variety of poems, including ‘The Map’ by Elizabeth Bishop, my personal favourite of his selection.

Anmol asks us to explore geography in our poems and says that there are different ways of going about it: we can explore and inculcate the various subjects within the science of geography like meteorology, climatology, ecology, environment, culture, population, development, and human-nature relationship; we can write about our city/state/province/region; we can combine different elements and ideas and map out our own geography of who we are and where we stand; and it is quite open-ended.

57 thoughts on “Into the Sea

  1. The shape here is very clever – the whole poem is tumbling forward. It works well with the content. For me the first half is stronger than the second half – I like the universality of that opening, and the fact that we all have a tendency to “continue clasping
    our inheritance firmly to our chests.” but I’m being very picky saying that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people think that Doggerland was Atlantis – and it’s no myth. There are remains of forests below the North Sea and mammoth skeletons have been found along the North Norfolk coast!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. They are skeletons of actual mammoths that roamed our coastline over 10,000 years ago when the British Isles was still attached to the rest of Europe. There’s pretty much a whole one at Norwich Castle Museum. They keep finding all sorts of wonderful things.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My goodness this is exquisitely drawn, Kim! ❤️ I admire the imagery and shape of your poem that seems to cascade like a waterfall! 😀


  3. You snagged me at /dithering on mouldering marsh and collapsing dune/. You, too, chose the sea, and the cycle of water as a launching pad; nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s delightful how the subject of your poem is also emulated to a great effect in its linebreaks and format — this is so good, both a reminder and a warning of where it all has come from and where it will end. The imagery is spot on and the dramatic tone is made all the better with some delicious metaphors. I loved this bit in particular: “Dithering/on mouldering marsh and/collapsing/dune,/we – doggedly – continue clasping/our inheritance firmly to our chests.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! This one had to be a shape poem, Anmol – it dictated the shape itself! The disappearance of Doggerland is the reason we have no native elephants in the UK.


  5. I would love to see this: Doggerland, the path that mammoths dared to tread.
    A feast for the senses from the mouldering marsh and collapsing dune, to the green countryside. Looks so peaceful Kim.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The remains of forests lie under the North Sea off the Norfolk coast. It was once teeming with mammoths and other animals and now its teeming with fish.


  6. Doggerland! Oh my, how wonderfully you brought this ancient land to life with your amazing sensory imagery, and sound qualities. Such a satisfying read altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Such an interesting poem, Kim–the shape and the words, crumbling into the sea.
    I like how the line about pigments could refer to rocks, people, or animals–so nature and civilizations both crumbling.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think it’s a lovely thought, that we all return to the sea eventually. Although not so lovely that our waters are rising and our lands are shrinking. It does seem our geography is transforming all over the world. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There is an intimacy to place which informs our work, whether we know it or not; and the exchange of land and sea is an ancient Mystery in places like yours. Those mammoth bones were taunts to those trying to explain a world that was only 6,000 years old. I live in a region that promises to be half underwater in a century, this house and its locale undersea. It’s a deep long heave like the bass note of the sea, and your poem joins the echoes of tales of fairy lights from drowned towns. A process poem, intimate with the slow grinding song of change. – Brendan

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “…..crumbling into sea and sand…..” I often reflect that the monster millionaire mansions along this coast will be the first to go underwater when the inevitable happens. A powerful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sherry. I feel so sorry for the film who have lived in cottages along the East Anglian coast all their lives, and they are losing them more and more frequently.


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