Thursday, 30 November 2017


What is the first word that comes into your head in response to the phrase ‘All Change’?

This was the question posed by Moniza Alvi at her recent Second Light workshop (see previous post).  We went round anti-clockwise at speed.  I found myself going second after ‘revolution’.  I proffered ‘restoration’.  I confess it was the sound association not the sense.

I thought of the great Scottish poet, Edwin Morgan, whose motto was ‘Change Rules’, and Rebecca Solnit’s ‘Never turn down an adventure without a really good reason’ (in her wonderful book The Faraway Nearby).

I remembered a conversation I overheard in a supermarket -
            Child:     Why are we buying this?
            Parent:  Because we always buy it.
            Child:     If you do the same things all the time you become boring.

Then there was the famous 70s book, Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, about ‘too much change in too short a period of time’.

Moving from Cumbria to Penllyn has been a big change in my life, but it has also been a restoration, a coming back.  In the harbour at Pwllheli I have been delighted to see little egrets   they have come back too.  Centuries ago these small white herons (looking from a distance like gawky pullets) were so common that a thousand were killed for the banquet celebrating the enthronement of the Archbishop of York in 1465.   Hunted to extinction they were absent from our shores for centuries, but twenty years ago the first little egrets bred in the south of Britain and since then they have been gradually moving back to coastal habitats. 

Little Egrets

In the years when I wasn’t watching
the egrets returned.

They leave claw-prints like hallmarks
in a patch of silvery mud.

There is no snow on the mountains
reflected in the harbour stillness,

only the whiteness of these elsewhere birds
which have made this place their home.

© Mary Robinson 2017


  1. This poem is beautiful Mary. I just found your blog. I live in Pwllheli and I have run a Creative Writing for Wellbeing group in Pwllheli for some years in which we write poetry, fiction and short memoir. I write poetry, especially haiku and micro fiction and have been published in a wide variety of online and print journals and Anthologies. I am launching an online journal on 1st January called Brevis - a journal of short poetry and prose from Wales and beyond. I would love to connect with you and I would be happy to tell you more about the group and/or submitting to Brevis.

  2. Thank you, Karen. I'm glad you like the poem. I'm delighted to hear from a writer on the Peninsula. Good luck with Brevis - it sounds interesting and ambitious. I've sent you an email via NAWE - I hope it reaches you. If not you can contact me via my website I apologise for the delay in replying.