Friday, December 28, 2007

Tidal Island

[Mike at Totally Optional Prompts this week spoke of an island that wasn't an island anymore and it got me thinking about this place. See what other folks came up with here.]

[Image from Wikimedia Commons. Listed in the public domain in USA.]

Tidal Island

Off Normandy's coast,
rising out of the sea,
the small granite island
stood proud as could be.

At low tide a land bridge
gave access and then
high tide turned it back
to an island again.

The archangel Michael,
had the bishop erect
a church on the top.
And later to protect

it came fortifications
and the pilgrims arrived,
then tourists clogged streets
'til they buzzed like a hive.

And to feed all the tourists
the locals raise sheep,
which in turn have to eat
and their food is not cheap.

They graze in the fields
now reclaimed from the ocean,
While a causeway reduces
the sea's tidal motion.

New fields and the causeway,
and canal in the river,
keep the tides from their job
washing silt from the sliver

of land-bridge until
the mud is all gathered
surrounding the island -
not the water we'd rather.

With silt filling in
the isle loses some magic,
but the great gothic beauty
cannot be called tragic.

Removing the causeway,
say some, will restore
the tide's power to scour
deposits once more.

Or build a new dam to
move silt from the base
and bring back the site
to its previous grace.

The strong granite island,
surrounded by wet,
was a popular place but
a bit hard to get

to and so people carved
out the land from the seas
in order to travel with
much-improved ease.

Yet changes they made
took away from the charm,
and much thought must be spent
to unravel that harm.

As for me, years ago,
I fell under the spell
of the bustling but magical
Mont Saint-Michel.

[For more info on Mont Saint-Michel the Wikipedia entry is a find place to start. Check out the links at the bottom of that entry for more.]


Crafty Green Poet said...

I didn't know the story, though I know of the island. Fascinating!

Linda said...

I like your choice of rhyme for this. It gives it the feel of legend. And that rhyme does not take away from the story or lead the peom somewhere where it doesn't want to go.

sister AE said...

Thanks, Juliet. There's even more, including it being used not only as a fort, but also as a prison. And the architecture is gorgeous. I'm not really a gothic kind of girl, but this place really stirs the imagination, and the tiny winding roads to the top are quintessentially old-world - something definitely foreign to someone used to life in the flat US midwest where the oldest buildings might be 150 years old.

sister AE said...

Thanks, Linda. It is much better now than it was early this morning. Telling a story like this is like doing a cross between a jigsaw and crossword puzzle. But sometimes you have to leave pieces out anyway.

tumblewords said...

I'd heard of the island but knew next to nothing about it. Your words tell the story so nicely and the photo is great.

Jo said...

yes, I agree with what juliet said. I was there in summer, it's lovely.

gautami tripathy said...

You made it come alive for me! Thanks!

sister AE said...

Hi, tumblewords. I'm glad I could give you more info. the picture is great, but it is from about a hundred years ago. Now the place is more often surrounded by mud flats instead of the blue sea.

Hello, Jo and Gautami.

Anonymous said...

Memories of sitting on the banks of Mont Saint-Michel 15 years ago in a buffeting wind trying to write a poem!

sister AE said...

Hello, Dick. Any luck with that poem, then?