Levels between Cardiff & Newport
Climb up, you
can do it. Top of the sea wall
overgrown with fix tail, bent grass, cranesbill,
ribwort, speedwell. The fields here flat, crossed
with reans foreign as Mars taking the swamp away.
We walk single file. Shelduck on the
mudflats, groyne teeth, breakwater, boat-ribs,
wrecked hard-core, the slope to the sea estuary
toughened with a boulder skin rough as navigator's hands.
The ponds they've
built for fish look real enough,
slack joined behind the Peterstone Sluice,
but up close their Disney geography belies the buckling
winds, neat angling piers made of log, clips
for catchnets, fences. The sea-board warning sign
rain eroded. Do Not. The path thickens with
heavy cock's-foot. As if we would.
The flats stretch
away into sunlight alive with
thunder-cloud, waste mud like thrown paint. Cars
are smashed here, brick, city detritus, logs
drifted with scoured plastic, cans. Blue smoke off the
last beaches, gravel, waste concrete, sand.
Across the Channel
the Somerset Levels as wrecked
as these. Distant hammering as some kid smashes
a bus shelter and the thug-roar of a high-cleated
Kawasaki carving across grass. Behind us chicaned,
traffic-calmed housing merges slowly with wilderness.
Gull overhead in a turning cloud. Soon they're gone.
Useful (Seren). A further section of Finch's Real Cardiff
book covers these flatlands. A version of this appeared in Planet.
back to the top