NINETEEN FIFTY-THREE

The towering waves

thundered into the shingle bank

Drawing the stones out to sea.

Two hours yet to high tide,

And a force eight storm from the east.

Again and again the waves devoured the shingle

Until they met the beach houses.

Roofs and walls, chairs and tables made into matchwood,

Concrete bases broken

And flung away.

And then a sudden shift in the wind,

Northeast now, and straight onshore.

Nothing between the rising water and the village houses

Except a smooth road and garden gates.

In the morning, as the low tide

Glowered on the horizon, and the wind

Blew debris through the rain

Accounting started.

Six lives lost and a community destroyed.

This was written in memory of my Uncle who lost his property and nearly his life when his part of Norfolk flooded during the storms of 1953.    He wrote to us afterwards with a very graphic account of that terrible night.

(c) Gillian Peall

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