A place of chalk and barbed wire - where nails

are hammered far into wood.

Under low cloud even the sea looks white;

the listless cows crop the cliff-top grass. At the edge,

there’s a stained stone bath;

and by the track down to the unfenced shingle

there’s a single traffic sign: NO ENTRY.

And why our journey

has brought us to this dead-end, who can say? 

For the soul feels old here, encumbered

with the tonnage of millennia - 

and the silence is the silence after a cataclysm,

final stroke, last syllable -  unbroken by the thrum

of hot summer traffic, a wave

cracking on the shore, a lamb’s green bleat…

and high on a chalk plinth someone has put up a cross

with the bleeding corpse of Christ.

And someone has planted flowers at his feet.


Two haikus 

Out from the carved slabs

a dark cat flows into poppies –

soft, blood-red, labile.

In the sun-tranced aisle

a stray dog stretches right out and –

turns to white marble.


Poet Peter Abbs and photographer John Pack have collaborated on a project which brings together words and images to communicate the sense of a sacred, inward journey. Their intention is to ‘catch the inner life of the outward form, to allow the spirit of the person or the place to blaze forth for the viewer’s and reader’s contemplation’. The inspiring black and white photographs of both people and landscapes, and the vivid poetry of Peter Abbs have their own independent life, but come together here with a sense of mutual correspondence.