|Image Source: John Buchanan|
Yesterday we had beautiful weather here in Guernsey and I took the opportunity to take a stroll out along the cliffs at Icart. In recent years there have been times when I wished the cliffs were steeper here, but yesterday I was determined to take a walk.
The Image above shows both the third bench and the view from it. This view has travelled all over the world in my mind. It has been used as a benchmark against which to compare all other views. In my opinion, it has seldom been surpassed.
According to Google Earth, the third bench is one hundred and eighty meters from where I parked the car, which means that my round trip was three hundred and sixty meters, it took me about two and a half hours.
On my return home I wrote the following poem, I hope you like it.
The Third Bench
I went for a walk today,
out on the cliff paths.
As I hobbled along
the familiar foot worn path
I could hear the gulls mock me.
I'd plant my sticks carefully
then advance my left foot
just a few inches and then
I'd move the right, just a touch
trying to stop my trousers
brushing against my skin.
Then, braced for what was to come,
I took all my courage in hand,
and placed my right foot.
Instantly pain seared up the leg
like a bolt of lightning,
it surged through the knee
and scorched my soul.
My body screamed at my mind to stop
It refused, forbade a pause,
not before the bench,
the third bench.
Plant the stick, breath, left and then
bite hard on the scream.
Sometimes a moan or gasp escapes.
Tears of frustration wet my cheeks.
I used to run here,
‘used to’ is no good.
I will make the bench,
the third bench.
I was less than ten meters out
when a dog walker crested the hill in front of me
one hundred meters away.
He walked slowly with two Malamutes.
Left foot, place my sticks, right foot
another searing blast of pain
one step closer to the third bench.
I move the sticks again,
the walker passed me,
passed the man with tears rolling down his face
and I took another step
toward the third bench.
John Carré Buchanan
06 April 2013