Articles de plage – Kate Noakes

Articles de plage

Lilos, speedos, rubber rings, flip flops, hats,
noodles, towels, sun cream, paddleboards, boules,
loungers, umbrellas, espadrills, mats,
sun glasses, beach shoes, bikinis, canoes.

Outside the shop an Italian girl is scared
of a herring gull on a delivery van.

Sea rushes in, sea glass, surf, waves, sea,
the rock and roll tumble of striped pebbles
under turquoise and indigo, small weed, sea,
clouds, so-blue sky, the canary ferry, sea.

Deep breaths with today’s sore lungs.

Here is the clarity of air you only see when
a crack in the weather lets in the wind.
Ground based ozone, its sulphur
and grey, is banished to planet B.

I know the Arctic ice has all melted this year.
A predictive map shows sea level rise
will submerge this Riviera, making cliffs
of the Alps Maritime.

An inflatable unicorn is fanciful.

Kate Noakes’ most recent collection is The FIlthy Quiet (Parthian 2019). She is a PhD candidate at the University of Reading. Kate lives in London acting as a trustee for writer development organisation, Spread the Word.

Saddleworth, 2018 – Kate Noakes

Saddleworth, 2018

Top story from the can’t/won’t remember moor –
fire tinders the heather in its dry mouth

and a boy sleeps in the dark. Not talking
to strangers, could have been, but wasn’t.

I have some sweets for you.

In its purple oven, fire dries wimberries
as bracken crackles, and the boy sleeps on.

I’ll give you a lift.

Fire licks the roots of flax, desiccates sundews
and hides in the decades of peat where he sleeps,

secretly turning him into chips of bone
and the ash that does not blow away.


Kate Noakes’ most recent collection is The Filthy Quiet, Parthian, 2019. She lives in London where she acts as a trustee for literature development charity Spread the Word. An elected member of the Welsh Academy of Letters, her website,,  is archived by the National Library of Wales.