Poetry, nuclear power and the coast. A curious, incongruous trio.
The Poetry Pin project was developed by Exmoor poet Christopher Jelley. ‘The concept of the Poetry Pin is simple,’ he says. ‘Add words to a pin on a digital map, to reveal on your mobile phone when in that same physical location. It entitles both reader and writer to engage with space and locality in a brand new way.’
‘Flighty and ethereal, it is real but not real, like a spirit you can summon on a whim for your delight, a new invisible layer authored into the landscape.’
But the tracks Jelley and his fellow poets chose to chart weren’t pure pastoral bliss, but rather tramlines across a disjointed hinterland – between the sea, the land and the monolithic nuclear power fortresses of Hinkley Point.
A small group of people walked, pondered, and expressed what they saw, heard and felt. Now their poems, along with evocative photography from Davina Jelley, have been pinned to paper in a book called a walk down the rift – poems from the great Somerset imposition (Fly Catcher Press, £10).
‘Poetry is a powerful medium in which to explore our emotional connection to place and the landscapes we feel a part of,’ says Tracey Roberts, in the introduction to the book. ‘The fields, hedgerows and drovers’ roads around Hinkley Point A and B power stations, and the building site for C, are far from untouched by human hand. And yet the poems in this collection suggest a strong sense of shared connection to the land, of wanting to safeguard what has become beautiful with time and familiarity.’
‘There are poems about fear of change, about loss, about anger and feeling powerless, about the bewildering implications of technological and scientific advancement, about being a small cog in an unimaginably large wheel. But there is also humour, wistfulness and a nod to our literary heritage (don’t forget Coleridge trod these paths).’
It’s a beautiful small thing, this book. Shall I share a few of its secrets? Let me turn the pages with my eyes shut and see where I land…and sea…
My children cannot go barefoot
here among the flotsam & jetsam.
A cheap, ill fitting shoe,
bought for a fleeting summer,
now lies bleached & brittle.
Do you remember the child
who ran down the sand?
Her memories are golden & linger.
Yet here you taint ours
and make us bitter.
Scrabbling across mosaic stones,
finding hidden rock pools.
Seaweed popping beneath sand-covered boots,
like bubble wrap on birthdays.
Disturbing whelks and sea snails small hands begin to freeze.
What else would you expect from a wintery beach?
Somewhere in the distance.
a murmuring of mad-made giants constructing the collosal,
which no amount of tuneful birdsong can drown out.
It punctuates a peaceful scene of waves caressing rock,
with a rumbling like far-off thunder,
threatening to clap.
Find out more about the Poetry Pin Project here: http://poetrypin.info/reveal
All images are (c) Davina Jelley – please do not reproduce without permission.