Gazing

A narrow chalk path, aslant; ascending,
Not directly over the crest, like in the past,
Via the sparkling shards of willow pattern plate,
But up a shallow slope hung above a patch of pine
On the side of the hanger amongst dense beech,
A short cut always facing out to the railway, the sea
The South Downs Way and the a3.
Climbing at pace the natural staircase,
Jutting from the sheer chalk scarp face;
A slippage of faults in the soft, porous rock.
Erosion of the cliffs over Petersfield,
Selfsame strata, dive down to the sea at Dover,
Dug away at through the toil of wind and water,
This southern most band of calcium carbonate.

On the landing a smooth plateau;
A sweep of the head from left to right,
Sixty miles in an instant of clays and sands.
Eye now racing from the rising tide to a suicide;
The tormented Woolf hearing voices,
Fills pockets full of stones and drowns herself.
A statue marks the spot of death,
A pilgrimage site for a brisk mourning walk;
Throw yourself into the river in a macabre homage,
To a prominent member of the Bloomsbury set.
And not to forget, Algernon Charles Swinburne,
Past those smooth-swelling unending downs,
On the south coast walking the line,
Ignoring those grey seaside towns.

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