Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Call of the Running Tide

I'll be heading off cross-country to the annual Aldeburgh Poetry Festival this weekend to listen to a number of talented poets reading their work, talking on panels or leading workshops. This will be my first ever trip into the wilds of Suffolk and I'm not quite sure what to expect. But I imagine it will be both useful and exciting. Particularly since I haven't yet managed to book a room anywhere (prices being a bit too steep for my limited budget) so I'm not sure either where I'll be sleeping! But that edge of uncertainty only lends charm to my little expedition and won't put me off going.

Most importantly perhaps, Aldeburgh is a small town nestled away on the Suffolk coastline, and it's been too long since I last saw the sea. Not quite the dramatic Greek cry of 'Thalassa!' as described by Xenophon ('θαλασσα, θαλασσα' - 'the sea! the sea!') but a rather more domestic longing for the briny waves, as John Masefield wrote here in 'Sea Fever':

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a clear call and a wild call that may not be denied

All those years cast-away on the Isle of Man does make living at the dead-centre of England a little disconcerting at times. Much as my heart is bound to this green and pleasant land, I do love her rough and salty edges best.

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