the bench
on the fourth sister from Birling Gap
before the wind-brushed scrub and gorse
             and the grey-blue sky smoothed
             through the fishtank-blue horizon
                       to grey-green sea
                                    by Mark Redford

                                    one sugared
                                    deep purple
                                    fruit    jelly


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Birling Gap is a tiny settlement on the south coast of England; between it, and Cuckmere Haven a little further west, are seven chalk cliffs called the Seven Sisters – both Birling Gap and the Sisters are falling into the sea, but it is still possible to walk them although each Sister is very steep both up and down and you have to sit on the only bench available and take stock of what on earth you are doing, which, when younger, can be a very simple exercise…

PHOTO: A panoramic view of the Seven Sisters from the Beachy Head Cliffs near Birling Gap, looking back towards the River Cuckmere and Seaford Head in the background. (Photo by Diliff, 2009)

mark redford

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Redford started writing when he was sixteen one moonlit night after everyone else had gone to bed; however he only really started playing write-fully when he stopped being too serious about living and, still, after all this time, has to keep learning that simple lesson when the living gets too crafted; he finds that sitting – still – helps with maintaining this perspective, as long as he doesn’t Meditate.   He has published very little, but you can see him fidgeting about on his website: