Gazing far beyond the misty headland, eyes teared with sorrow, love and joy,
Aged, beloved Aunt Elizabeth has died so far across the sea.
Her passing evokes childhood memories of her welcoming embrace
Of how she wakened in my heart a love for natural grace.
Holidays in rocks and sand beside the Northern Sea,
The gritty miner’s row house where Eliza served high tea.
Allotments rimmed with pigeon lofts and summer pigs in sty,
A hot coal fire to boil the crab and air the washing dry.
Images of parents flood my mind,
My mother’s reassuring touch, her resolution steeled by matrimony;
My father’s guiding hand, his nervous practicality punctuated by elation.
Deep is my longing that they too could join me on this cliff of contemplation.
A warming sun now dries my eye with promises of discovery,
A freshening breeze has scudded white sails into a bluing sky.
A morning chorus sings an anthem to resurrected light,
My soul is soothed with peace and calm at Nature’s sight.
Bryan Douglas Cook P.E.I. August 2010
Context for Cliff Top Reflections
Tanya and I vacationed from August 1 to August 22, 2010 in a small rented cottage (an old relocated ferry station) at Nine Mile Creek on the Northumberland Strait, South Shore of Prince Edward Island. I wrote an extended poem “South Shore Holiday, Prince Edward Island” which related events almost chronologically as they happened during the holiday. As the first poem I had ever written, I later found it uneven and still somewhat of a slave to romantic rhyming pentameter.
I have chosen to revisit it and edit sections as stand-alone poems. This is the first in the series.
Cliff Top Reflection relates my thoughts while seated on a red sea- cliff looking out over Hillsborough Bay. I reflect on the news of the death of my Aunt Elizabeth in Barnsley, Yorkshire England. The reference to Eliza is to Eliza Cook, my paternal grandmother with whom I often vacationed as a child in Newbiggin-by-sea, Northumberland, England.The photos are of the coal fireplace,range and drying rack, and of Aunt Elizabeth (left) and Grandma Eliza Cook