The sea strips / the sand into strata, / shifts the timeline / on the tides. / The village / was Saxon, was Viking / was Roman. / Was here, then gone.natalie sorrell charlesworth
Christ the King, Fishergate Hill
Castle ruin, fairy gate, grey-white mirage
side-eyed from the slipstream windowpane
of a hundred early morning bus journeys.
Octagonal towered, Notre Dame aspirant
pulled flat on all faces but this. A demoted
church, the council’s truncated, votive offering.
One day I will walk up to your wall, press
my palms flat to your bricks. Push.
Back to grass and heather. The hum
of masonry bees vibrating in their
honeycombed brickwork remnants.
Hidden undergrowth fed on ashes.
Here, a hunter once crouched
in their furs in the long grass,
watching the sedate grazing
of their next rabbit-skin hat.
Here, a monk once set down
his wandering staff, bricked
the world into windows, panes
of glass arching heavenwards.
Here, a man made a manor
of a monastery, rented out
the choral echoes of inherited
nobility, to trade and railways.
Here, they sent the orphaned
or unwanted, the short-trousered
progeny of parents on a budget,
for Latin, Greek and arithmetic.
Here, the army stored their secrets,
then forgot to post a guard. Lost
the lot to trespassers five years later,
ten-year-old Tom with dad’s lighter.
Here, half the roof peeled open
in a storm, like a ring-pull can lid.
The council puts paid to the walls
with a wrecking ball next winter.
Here lies Tulketh, interred in
Avenue, Brow, Road, Crescent.
Foundations’ bones tarmacked
under a car park’s cracked skin.
The sea strips
the sand into strata,
shifts the timeline
on the tides.
was Saxon, was Viking
Was here, then gone.
One winter reveals
a headless Victory.
She was carried
to the church. Left
out of salt until
she was reclaimed,
In harder times
the villagers develop
Wind their way
through the wave
forms of foundations,
the worm casts
The currents change
on the whim of the weather,
the temple of a forgotten
Roman goddess, plying
her faith amongst
the carcass stalls
of Viking merchants,
the graves of Christians
out of the mud,
heads facing westwards.
For centuries of dark nights,
the villagers’ children
have crept out
through the waves’
boneyard, pillaged the surf’s
for the brooches and skulls
they liked the best, ferried
them home through
seaweed snares and crab nests.
Of the rest, little is known
and the locals’ lips
Dr Natalie Sorrell Charlesworth, is a 29 year old Preston native. She won the Poetic Republic Portfolio Prize 2014, was specially commended in Elbow Room 2016, shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize 2020 and Jane Martin Prize 2014 and longlisted for Mslexia 2021. Her work has been published by Poetic Republic, Elbow Room, Beautiful Dragons and Hidden Disabilities. She works as a Library Assistant for Lancashire County Council, as an Outreach and Schools Liaison Officer for Lancaster University and as a freelance artist and genealogist. She is an active board member for Lancaster Literature Festival and recently passed her VIVA for her Creative Writing PhD at Lancaster University.