Crow dark birds, dead mariners and William Blake…

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September 19, 2014 by Whispering Smith

Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette on the 11th of September  2014

AT THE END of our near mile long promenade is a beach shelter where the road turns inland from the sea and, on that corner, there is always a gathering of crows. Large, indolent birds who wander the shoreline but never get their feet wet. They feed on dead cracked crab carapaces, cockles, the carcasses of smooth hounds, whelks and winkles, dead sea bass and the remains of anglers bait. They never appear to be in a hurry and on sunny days rest upon the roof of the shelter, atop road signs or on the large rocks imported from the west country to stop our beach sand and shingle marching ever eastwards. They cough and squabble among themselves and always give off the appearance of the miseries. Dark birds, they remind me of the souls of long drowned mariners, reluctant to leave the sea but not happy to be there either. They know they should be inland, marching the ploughed fields, taking the eyes from dead sheep, feasting on dead rabbits, dodging the farmer’s shotgun, picking at road kill and doing what crows should be doing were not the pull of the sea so strong.

A DATE for your diary, The Big Blake Project Festival will be on the 20th. September in the Old Rectory Gardens, Felpham, a fundraiser to get folk to stump up and help buy the house where William Blake lived for three years and there wrote the lovely and stirring Jerusalem, which would come close, in so many ways, to becoming our national anthem. The Blake Society are aiming to make over the house as a contemplation refuge, a place for artists to do their thing as well as to celebrate the life of this controversial poet, painter, philosopher, writer and many would have it, radical. The event is partly sponsored by some local authorities and the rest raised through fund raising efforts of volunteers and donations from local business. There is a huge amount of  support for the project but more help is needed if the 520.000k is to be raised before the sale deadline. Expect poetry, theatre, painting, music, great food and a general informative and fun day. There is even a ukulele workshop and that is good enough for me and Bobby McGee…

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