Quenched Fire

John Kemp

The Axe had broadened

to an estuarial display

of greys and silvers,

of pewter hammered on by

currents, vagaries and sun,

was travelled on by winds

leaving dying wakes and ripples

and transient tracks as clear

as those that oyster catchers

leave on mud; so many birds

were there, low tide, slack

water, all along the edges

probing thin cries into salted

air. A boat approached on

bright reflecting wings

and all the seabirds took

to sudden flight and with them

went, as though they carried

all away in one whole sheet,

the estuary entire; and what

remained was a wooden boat

on wooden water and silence

like that of a quenched fire.

Main Location:

Axmouth, Devon EX12, UK