When the tide, slow retreating from the beach north of Broadstairs,
Reveals all the liminal acres of shore,
A field of nobbly pinnacles rises
Slathered with purple, green-fingered, white-raw.
The chalk will feel greasy to fingertip gripping,
The seaweed is slippy beneath treading feet,
Yet the softest of stones is defeating the ocean
Absorbing the thunder where seas swell and meet.
The cliffs, yes they tumble, they fall and they shout,
Collapse in the surf of the tide’s furthest rush,
But ten days in twelve the water drains backward
And the roar of the ocean will turn into hush.
The power of water is soon dissipated,
Rollers and breakers split into rills
And the cliffs, slowly crumbling, must face the ocean
But twice a day water retreats and then stills.