Time to return back down the river to Teignmouth.
This time we travel by bus to relish the spectacular views along the estuary and reflect, leaving behind eighteenth century verse for a more modern piece. Thanks to Virginia Griem for this.
Kingsteignton to Teignmouth on the No 2 bus
After the roundabout
The road rises, steep,
Winds right and left.
On the lower deck windows
Grey dusty rape stalks – hedgerow invaders,
Tap, flick flack
The bus stops, picks up a hiker,
Dark head amongst silver holders
Of bus passes, shopping bags.
Gears grind, and the hot smell of engine
Joins cut grass for a moment,
Fades, is forgotten
As the Estuary sweeps into view.
And where are they going these people
With their bags for life and their memories
Down to the shops, Spend £40,
get a voucher
a free cup of coffee
On the top deck
The great arrow of mud
Pierces the eye,
shot from the distant sea.
Channels meander, hit high ground
Change direction, bubble, suck, stick,
Release, flow, shimmer, shine.
Vast banks of silt stretch empty,
but at their edge
White egrets dart with delicate step
Herring gulls strut their stuff.
Smaller black heads search brackish pools
And where are they going these gulls
After they’ve raided the mud flats
Down to the seafront, steal a warm pasty
From a tourist
A free ice cream
On through the valley
River no longer in sight.
Swifts hunt above waves of wheat,
Devouring their weight in winged creatures.
And all the while from the top of the bus
The landscape is being revealed.
Behind us the moors herald rain
As fields turn to gardens,
Washing lines, wheelie bins,
Shop fronts, traffic lights,
Playgrounds and car parks.
And now the bus rests.
The shoppers, the hiker, silver haired lunchers,
Dropped off in the town.
Kingsteignton to Teignmouth
On the No. 2 Bus