The Marsh Chorus


Stand alone, upon the marsh, within the Isle of Grain, at peace within your thoughts, at this, your secret place. ( 1)
Just out of sight, around the bend, from London’s bustling views,
there stands a lonely Monument, called the London Stone. (2)
High in the mud, it shows you where, the River Thames now ends, and marks the spot to look beyond, to where the sea, now, begins.

The entrance to the Yantlet Creek, without a conscious sign, is where you’ll find such beauty,
It  soon entraps your mind.
Outstanding quiet, and solitude, tricks your thoughts within,
The almost total silence, seems to shout and scream
Suddenly a bird, gives a sudden frightful shriek, lt wakes you with a sudden start, and its chorus, echoes, from the fleet. (3.)
So totally alone you feel, no one else to share your dreams,
You relish sounds of comfort, like the scuffling of sheep,
or perhaps, the grunts of cows, as they graze, or sleep.
At distance you may  hear engine’s, ships engines, thump, thump, thump,  as down towards the sea they sail, and out  towards the Nore,
Their wash arrives much later, to lap against the shore. ( 4)

Hidden in this mystic marsh, as abundant as they are, the hidden tiny creatures are busy with their chores.
They walk or swim or burrow, and often try to hide, But look, and sometimes, you’ll see, if you’re quiet and careful,
Wait,  and bide your time

You can’t resist to pick and scratch, the flotsam that you find;
discarded of its daily use, it will stay a while,
Later it will then be moved,   by the tide sometime
to rest upon some distant  shore
at a later time.

A sudden splash and there, a Seal  pops out her head.
She looks at you, and seems to say, “Who are you?  What are you doing here?”
They often will come close, so curious of you is she,
as you as well, might be for her, or maybe him?
But in a flash, her shiny green and purple chest has gone, “Oh no!”
“Why don’t you stay? you plead,

You don’t want her to go.
You turn, and start to walk away and stop,
look back across your shoulder, is  she there? Is she back?
She might, you never know.

Closer to the waters edge, there is a pure white beach,
just cockle shells, tiny and  complete.
unbroken, they pile to form a bank,  where the water rushes past,
so to fill the Yantlet Creek (5)

.The foolish guilt you feel, when just to walk you crush, the tiny shells about your feet,
That thought,
stays in your memory, forever
,Your mind will save its place.

Alone you feel, but here you are, at this your secret place, with natures form, so wonderful,
a smile upon your face..

I am going to stay awhile, or even camp ‘til Morn,
See the wading birds at roost,
Hear their morning chorus,
As the new day dawns.

Written by a Parish Councillor, who with his wife, and his son and daughter, and their children, fell in love with the Isle of Grain

Explanatory notes

(1) The Marsh is named the Lees marsh and the North Level Marsh, Isle of Grain. The final stop at the end of the Hoo Peninsula, and one of the most remote places of the County of Kent,  It is where the two great estuaries of the River Thames and The river Medway ,join, to meet with the North Sea


(2) The’ London Stone Monument on Yantlet beach denotes the end of the Port of London’s jurisdiction. A line cast across the Thames to the Essex coast, finds another stone called “The Crow Stone”on the foreshore at Chalkwell.  This line denotes the geographical end of the River Thames

(3) Fleets are names for the streams and   pools of brackish water that populate North Kent Marshes.

(4) The Nore denotes the Nore Light which is a navigational beacon, formerly the Nore Lightship, out in the North Sea

(5) The Yantlet Channel (also known as Yantlet Creek), divides the Isle of Grain from the estuarine marshlands of the Hoo Peninsula.   The Island is now is now joined to the Peninsula, by a single road up over the Sea wall, known as Grain Bridge.

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