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Shock to a city girl

by spud 

Posted: 21 February 2004
Word Count: 57
Summary: Just came back from a countyside trip...

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The Fens are too flat.
There is nothing to hook your eyes into.
Nothing to measure yourself against.
There is no sense of scale.
Only land rolling out and out and out in all directions.
And the too big sky that sits heavy on the horizon
and envelopes you
trapping you
suffocating you
in too much space.

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Comments by other Members

miffle at 11:28 on 21 February 2004  Report this post
Spud, could really relate to this poem! An usual angle unless you have felt it!

Yes, I had a similar shock (prolonged) when I moved up to a Scottish island; I felt a tiny dot in the universe (smaller than before ;-) ) and although I have grown to love wide horizons, fallen deeply in love with showcase skyscapes, sunsets and sun-ups, walked beaches most would kill for I still miss the trees and often, the trappings and clutter of domestic life: plant pots, looking in windows on winter nights, chatter...

There's a loneliness hear that growls, that stalks you, bites into you (if you're not an islander); actually it is the kind of place where people too become extreme - extremely eccentric, extremely mad...BUT the problem is the return to civilisation! The south-eastern sky looks dusty, gritty, hazy in comparison. And the landscape is a warren of frenzied cars...And to be on a train or the underground is to suffocate - personal space invaded. High-rise blocks make me feel claustrophobic...

I wonder if you will feel this on your return?! That said there is much to 'hook the eye' here (especially in spring and summer) then I feel there may be on the Fens (?). I too, am not a lover of flatness...

Enjoyed this, evocative. Write on, nikki ;-)

NB loved 'hook the eye'

Ellenna at 12:39 on 21 February 2004  Report this post
I agree with the sentiments of this piece..have moved from East Anglia to the far south West.. :)

Hi Spud, welcome back...


poemsgalore at 12:52 on 21 February 2004  Report this post
The solitude gives a very welcoming feel to me, sorry I can't agree with your opinion of the fens, but your expressiveness can't be matched and the discriptive powers you have invested into this poem give it real depth.

Elsie at 22:32 on 23 February 2004  Report this post
Hi Spud, welcome back. I can relate to this, both with Norfolk, and when I used to go to Northumberland, the sky seemed so big. Very well written.

spud at 10:58 on 25 February 2004  Report this post
Thanks all for your kind words about the piece and also your words of welcome.

This was written as a knee jerk reaction to an environment that is SO different to my normal habitat. There is a different sort of beauty to the landscape of the Fens, but at first it seemed so overwhelming. Not sure if I could live there, but it did provide some calm from the usual day-to-day stuff of life.

Miffle, you are right about the return to the South-east though - I could feel myself becoming more tense I we approached it!

Thanks to you all again, and it is good to be back.




should be 'as we approached...'

tinyclanger at 10:40 on 26 February 2004  Report this post
Sorry to be late on this, I saw it the other day and meant to come back and comment, but then lost it..

I think it's wonderful. Some stunning lines, and the landscape just rolled out there in front of me as I read.

You mention it being overwhelming..I guess I also felt the idea of you feeling your own insignificance, afraid of being so little in a place where everythihng is on such a grand scale?
A bit like the idea of space, maybe. it's just so big, that most of us shy away from even the concept because we can't see how we mean anything compared to it.

As a country girl, I don't find it overwhelming, I love it, makes me realise what I am, if that doesn't sound too pretentious!?
But I thought this expressed it perfectly, as well as effortlessly showing the beauty of the place.
Love it.


spud at 14:33 on 26 February 2004  Report this post

Lovely to get your feedback.

Very much appreciated.

take care now


engldolph at 19:55 on 19 March 2004  Report this post
HI Spud

I liked, and related to this..
loved the
nothing to hook your eyes into.
and the "only" lands

I wonder if...

- it might work to break the line 5 after the second "out" ( as if the line can continue on its own)
Only land rolling out and out and out
in all directions.

- not sure about too big sky
perhaps... the big sky sits too heavy

- for some reason I'm thinking it might (or might not!)be a more powerful, definitive end to drop the "ings" in the last lines..

traps you
suffocates you
too much space

But, again, really the honesty and simplicity


spud at 12:52 on 21 March 2004  Report this post

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and to think about this poem - really do appreciate it.

I'm giving some thought to your suggestions - it's not always easy to admit that something you thought pretty much perfect could be improved - but I think you do have a point about the
'out and out and out' line as well as the 'ing' endings.

I see what you mean about the 'too big sky', but have decided to keep it as to me, when driving through the fens, the sky really did feel too big.

I'm always really touched when someone takes the time to not only read but to think about what I've written - so very big thanks.


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