Wells in autumn

A path raised like a wedge
above high tide
shoots straight as an earthy arrow

in the evening sun
you look back at the town,
the remains of the day:

the silent train,
diners on the deck,
cars dragging themselves from the quay,
stragglers in Staithe Street,
stones from victoria plums.

The sea laps at the boardwalk,
and bubbles rise
from shellfish or pebbles.

The wash from incoming boats
feeds comfortably between our toes,
and the coastguards go home:
the sea dead calm.

You balance on the breakwater
then jump off, laughing.

On the way back we stop short
and watch the sun fall
on to Holkham:

a file of trees in the distance
become shadows against the misty light,
standing to attention,
not quite at ease

in the face of such casual power –
so extravagant,
so impossible to resist.