A pocket full of Rye

 By Miss J Dwyer

There’s a pull here felt. And felt again. Pictures have it. That arrest… This pull is a place. And if you please; a picture. Climb the pyramid crabwise as it winds up weather-worn red roofs making their way to church; scan the clock of fame manned by chubby Quarter Boys who strike as named but who ignore the hours; now, if you can, crane for the fine thin line and read the weather-cock pointing a finger at the wind.

We all do churches (if we don’t do God), so, likely, you will slip inside where those who ‘have no time’ may ‘stand and stare’. And Make It. Walk West for Watchbell Street; homes-sweet-homes, no house to spare; admire all you like no less mindful of the cobbles that lure (and test) the slipshod to the look-out. Landscape beckons… You stand high here, High as hope And the pull’s both ways; down the cliff face up the sky. Stand firm. Can be A heady thing turns on what you feel in the grip of a pulling thing. This scene shows long-distance On the roll for Camber Castle right across the clear unfettered sweep to the horizon where you may quicken (as I do) at some approach of joy.kuteris

You’ll need to sober up for Mermaid Street, some pull indeed, the stiffer climb. but then you will, and at the top nod left to Little Orchard House, right to classic Lamb House with all that fame.

Bear east through mainstream scheme of things. Walk the old ways, ups and downs that rub with rights of passage. Alleys invite, fetch you away, (mainstream never holds you here). Vistas intrigue, probing a distant view. This turn brings the best thing yet! What of that turn missed? Don’t let old Pump Street reservoir be one of them: oval brickwork gem at which our high tech bows. Eyes free range; to be in town while looking out! And this is how I like my towns – Bath, Ely, Shaftesbury in mind. Met your match? You’ll meet it here. The Marsh will have you one way or the other, all 000 square miles of it! Grasses plain and purl. Crops to texture. Colours that run in the rush hour. Farms high risk in the storm. Trees that huddle the hearth exposed, (far-flung poplars take a stand). Formal rivers, random flood add a live touch (times too much). Church Tower, turret, one-off spire point vertical relief, reminders of some past day when folds were full. The lesser flock we sing Have baa’d their own way down the years still clothing bleak and bare, still stray as they are said to do; just think; once Treasury of the Marsh – of England! Still raising capital Every other where. All range recognizable, near, But way off crop no longer clear. Consider the mushrooms of the field.

Sea glimpsed from hilltop (or some top floor en suite)

no more heaves to raise a threat to twin towns once forced to flinch who now stare down the devil in the eye. Fish that schooled no more rock the boat and traders must diversify. So, cut back on expectation but keep faith and hold the line; this very evening may throw up a salt surprise upon your plate! And now at length – and as you lose count of your glass – you will no doubt be pleased to flaunt your foreign travels with sly reference to big time Russian steppes Dutch Flats Prairies and the like And shrug ‘who needs the Marsh’ And ‘try these pulls for size!’ Well, as you’re feeling strong you might indulge in line with Garlic taste – for cellars, further still for contraband? (nows there’s a pull!)

Let’s raise the stakes. They say the cells still reek of memories concerning some who, like yourself, got a little high (and swung!). They say that air is thick beyond all telling with hints about the hell of things that haunt to this day. But you won’t baulk at spooks! Of course it’s possible to peer – though not if you would try the chest or test the box for ‘things’ inside… Come on! let’s go for the authentic touch, the pull that brought the Old Salts down against the turning of the tide. Allez! I have myself had cause to shudder – stepped aside what seemed to pass and heard a common chuckle cheer some Joss or Jem who pulled it off. A curious mix these tales or those, who, said to be beyond we seem to feel preside.

Yes, Rye is more than cobbled streets and picture postcard quaint. Her history trawls the heavy seas and that’s a heavy trawl.

“Rye’s Own” January 2006

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