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Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Confession: I'm not Gordon Brown

Ok, ok, I admit it - I have taken a holiday. This summer I took a couple of weeks off to go down to Cornwall with my family. People can make you feel a bit guilty about taking a holiday, but I think it's vital. If you don't ever take your foot off the accelerator and take some time out to reassess things, I think you can end up going a bit nuts. Like Gordon Brown.

So, for the summer holidays, here's - not an uber-political blog post- but one of my favourite poems about the British sea side. It's by John Betjeman, who loved the coast of North Cornwall, as I do. But alas, I can't write poems about it like this: It's 'Winter Seascape', which , as anyone who has been down to Cornwall this summer will know, has been sadly appropriate for the summer holidays this year.

Winter Seascape
by John Betjeman
The sea runs back against itself
With scarcely time for breaking wave
To cannonade a slatey shelf
And thunder under in a cave.

Before the next can fully burst
The headwind, blowing harder still,
Smooths it to what it was at first
-A slowly rolling water-hill.

Against the breeze the breakers haste,
Against the tide their ridges run
And all the sea's a dappled waste
Criss-crossing underneath the sun.

Far down the beach the ripples drag
Blown backward, rearing from the shore,
And wailing gull and shrieking shag
Alone can pierce the ocean roar.

Unheard, a mongrel hound gives tongue,
Unheard are shouts of little boys;
What chance has any inland lung
Against this multi-water noise?

Here where the cliffs alone prevail
I stand exultant, neutral, free,
And from the cushion of the gale
Behold a huge consoling sea.

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