Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon
Poet and Short Story Writer
2017 MA Creative Writing, Newcastle University, UK
Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies and is a Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee. She is developing practice as a participatory arts facilitator and believes everyone’s voice counts.
I regularly spend time walking the beaches of Northumberland, especially those between Druridge Bay and Dunstanburgh Castle. I am fascinated by the constantly changing topology, and the sense of being of being in a thin place[i], as waves break incessantly. Living creatures surge around on land and in sea and air, plants and seaweeds attach to their places of growth. The small objects, tiny shells, pebbles etc. and the large ones such as carbonised tree trunks and seal carcasses speak many stories of life and death, past and present. They also seem to beg a multitude of questions about the future of earth, particularly in our current environmental crisis. Contradictorily, these liminal places inspire emotions of enduring calmness and surrender combined with urgency. The pervasive message is clear: in our brief existences, our custodianship of the planet is our overriding responsibility.
[i] In Celtic mythology, a thin place is a threshold between the material and the spiritual
- Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon, 2021
 In Celtic mythology, a thin place is a threshold between the material and the spiritual
Waves ebb and flow. Reveal, cover,
reveal, cover again. Pebbles churn, thud,
rumble and drag in ripples and riptides.
Sea glass is blasted into new-formed shapes,
elemental irregularity chaffs mundanity
into beauty. A dead seagull shivers,
flies settle, maggots writhe inside, feathers
ruffled by salt-winds whisper memories
of flights. Smashed conch shells crack open
fresh skylights. Seaweed weaves through holes,
slicks green icing over rocks, stinks rotten
and waters eyes as footsteps slide and humans
fall. Remains of carbonised forests emerge
when sands shift. Stubborn trunks and branches,
dark and burnished, imply life embalmed
in certain death. Squint, see a sleeping greyhound
or dinosaurs, creatures of earth and Hades, filtered
through eye and brain in windswept imaginings.
The coast’s lines erode certainty, false perceptions
become true experience. Buried flint tools catch
our sight and flick light, remind us of transience
and chipped pride. Snatch life while you can
screech oyster catchers, sweep cries
from tweeting sanderlings, but remember
our leavings may one day be revealed:
stark legacies, as waves ebb and flow.