Emerald on Dover cliff top.
Rock pools of winkles and anenomes,
Seaweed- dirty brown to feathery green.
Small places for a tiny person
Then sand as on Dover beach
Between threatening sea and pure sheer cliff.
I scrambled to the top
To conquer a landscape beyond.
And so to opportunity unlimited
Beyond the dangerous waves.
A continent and greater world
Called seductively to me.
Ancient Britons would have known
The new view that was presented
Lay upon a slippery curvature
And not a deceptively flat earth.
After fractured explorations
The cliff top beckoned me back
To grass, vetch and clover
And to their insect dwellers.
Nothing wider did attract.
Then appeared unexpected
An emerald of luminous green
That at nineteen had so bewildered,
Was met determinedly at twenty nine
And at thirty eight was grasped as an escape.
The separate ages coalesced
Around the rough exquisite stone
Which had lurked throughout the journey
Yet sparkled with no warning.
I fell in love.
[The perspective of this piece differs sharply from that of Matthew Arnold's poem on the same landscape. Only the sea has a similar place in both.]