Early Morning Whitby

Out walking on the cliff top
in a mist, when visibility
does not extend to sea below;
only constant roar
re-assures me of its presence,

I find myself among
the fraternity
of early morning dog walkers
who emerge, merge, separate,
shadowy figures in the grey.

Although polite
they regard me with suspicion,
I am an alien (no dog)
within their landscape,

am interrupting
rituals of friendship
extending back, I guess,
over many years.

I adjourn to the
Battery Parade cafΓ©,
end of pier not visible
through the mist,
and over a hot milky coffee

ponder the requirements
for joining society
and the difficulties
of capturing movement of waves
using only a stills camera.



38 Responses to “Early Morning Whitby”

  1. christine Says:


    Yhis is a lovely peek at your meandering thoughts whilst walking out and about your favourite place. It reads as though you are very cotent within yourself.

    I think his poem is brill…..excellent!

    Lots of love



    • belfastdavid Says:

      I was very content with myself Christine,

      Whitby will do that for me – every time!! πŸ™‚

      Lots of love

  2. Elaine Randall English Says:

    Oh yes…..definitely nice!

    • belfastdavid Says:


      Thank you Elaine, Even re-reading the poem as I was posting it here puts me in a warm, gentle frame of mind πŸ™‚

  3. πŸ™‚ Brilliant (What is wrong with brilliance ?)

    Those Whitby folk walking their dog, it is a sight familiar to us, as we have the dog walkers here behind our house on the dune. It is so true, when you are there at a time they don’t expect tourists yet, their daily routine seems a bit disturbed lol. You describe it well, you really noticed ! πŸ™‚

    • belfastdavid Says:

      πŸ™‚ Ah, there is nothing wrong with brilliance Ina. It is just that Christine and I were having a discussion when I said that there had been too many “brilliants” given in feedback at the Leeds Writers’ Circle. It felt lazy to me – if we over use the word brilliant then what is left to describe the truely superb!! And do we really mean it when what we are describing what is competent say? Anyway it has been a standing joke between us to find different words to describe what we really mean. πŸ™‚

      As to “really noticed” – Whitby will do that for me – I seem to be able when there to readily drop into that space where I am living in the moment – and then I do “really notice” πŸ™‚

      • It is tough to have an original reply, but sometimes when you just mean brilliant I think brilliant should be the word to use πŸ™‚
        I think you should live in Whitby perhaps. Then you could have this living in the moment moments all the time! πŸ™‚

      • belfastdavid Says:

        Oh, absolutely!! πŸ™‚

        Just sometimes I get picky about words and if someone asks me for feedback on a poem then they merit me paying attention to the words I use.

        Part of the dream is still to go and live in Whitby – perhaps some day πŸ™‚

      • christine Says:

        You are practicing mindfullness!!! xxx

      • belfastdavid Says:

        πŸ™‚ I was practising it long before it got packaged up and marketed as “mindfulness”

        It is where I go when I meditate and certainly is the place from where a lot of my best poetry gets written πŸ™‚


  4. Vera Hazelgrove Says:

    I like3d your early morning walk and the cup of coffee – but my attention got caught with the lines “ponder the requirements for joining society” – chuckle – that’s why I like landscapes with no “people” in it πŸ™‚

    and “how to capture movement of waves using only a stills camera” – you have to practice to catch the wave(s) when they are at their highest point, or when they make foamy crests – the viewers brain will automatically supply the down movement if you show them at their highest point πŸ™‚
    Hope this helps! but as to the first pondering, I have no answer … a fickle beast, society ….

    Have a good weekend
    (I hope you are recovered and feeling well again?)

    Vera & Karley

    • belfastdavid Says:

      πŸ™‚ You are a woman after my own heart Vera – I have to admit to more and more a preference for “Landscapes with no “people” in it” πŸ™‚

      As to pictures of waves – that is really helpful. The trick will be to recognise the point just below the highest point to allow for the delay between deciding to take the picture and pressing the button and the picture actually being taken!! You do realise that I will have to go back to Whitby to practise – Oh dear, never mind!! πŸ™‚

      As for society, I do find that too much exposure to it makes me tired – I prefer to take it in small doses!! πŸ™‚

      I am well on the mend thank you, I just need to take it gently and be patient!!!

      I hope you have a good weekend and a satisfying weekend of weaving.

      My love to you and a pat to Karley


  5. Vera Hazelgrove Says:

    Sorry for the typo, I really *liked*

  6. I have two dogs but it sounds wonderful enjoying the photos at FB!

    • belfastdavid Says:

      You and your two dogs would love Whitby Katherine and would be instantly at home among the dog walking fraternity, whether walking along the top or, when the tide is right, walking along the beach.
      I could do that walk every day of my life and never tire of it πŸ™‚

  7. Hi,

    I really enjoyed this poem. It’s very vivid. I can just see you in my mind. You know how much I like it there. The last stanza I liked very much.


    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Cathy,

      Do I infer from your poem that you have visited Whitby?


      • No, I’ve never been. I was referring to liking being in my mind. I’m so confusing.

        Your words conjure an image and I am really fond of embellishing. I’ve never been to your neck of the woods. I will be going one day though.

      • belfastdavid Says:

        Ah, now I understand,

        I do like it there too – that’s my mind, not your mind πŸ™‚

        If you ever do come this way for real do let me know

    • A thought just came to me as I was reading your comment. Where the heck is Whitby? I just assumed you are in Ireland. Is that correct?

      • belfastdavid Says:

        Ah, I was born and grew up in Ireland, but I currently live in Leeds which is in the north of England.

        Whitby is on the coast in North Yorkshire – beautiful place – you can Google it. Or I do have some photographs of my latest visit up on FaceBook

      • I’m going to admit to something painfully idiotic but I did google Whitby and it came up with of course Whitby in England but I thought no I want the Whitby in Ireland. The even funnier part is that I spent two hours of my life in Whitby, not the one in Ireland, the one in England. It was in 1999 in the Autumn, really cold. I’d like to go back and maybe spend more like four hours or four days. I just cracked myself up. I do that a lot.

      • belfastdavid Says:

        *Big Smile*

        Thank you Cathy for opening my day with a smile

  8. I love this poem, David – we got a our first dog about 18 months ago, and there’s just the kind of ‘fraternity’ you describe on the playing-field at the end of our road, where we generally put in a couple of laps after walking The Girl to school in the morning. You’re right; there’s a subtle but definite divide between ‘dog’ and ‘non-dog’ people, which we’re very aware of having only recently crossed it, and do everything we can to build bridges! Above all, though, I can absolutely identify with your line about ‘pondering the requirements for joining society’: as soon as you’ve found out what they are, you will let me know, won’t you?! That’s assuming they’d have me! Great work as always, my friend.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      *Big Smile*

      Thank you Nick – I have spent most of my life pondering those requirements – the human race fascinates me!! πŸ™‚

  9. Lovely sketch of Whitby, David, you took me there.

    Best Regards ~ Res

    • belfastdavid Says:

      I would be delighted to have your company Res on an early morning Whitby walk and in the cafe afterwards

      Best regards to you too

  10. It is good to catch up with you here, David. This past month was far too busy for me. At last, I can breathe.

    This line -who emerge, merge, separate, – is a dance!

  11. A Huge Smile, and I am one of the dog walkers.. This is just plain Beauty, my friend!! Lately I have been become concerned, because I seem to care more for my animals, than most people I meet; of course they aren’t all as soulful, as you are.. Big Hugs!!

    • belfastdavid Says:

      *Big Smile*

      I knew when I wrote this Sandy that you were one of the dog walkers and guessed you would understand πŸ™‚

      I do find most often that the company I want on my walks is just myself, my camera and my notebook. Although I do so enjoy people watching πŸ™‚

  12. You really capture the scene there, also maybe a slight feeling of alienation or that could be my interpretation. Great work.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Maria,

      Probably a “slight feeling of alienation” but on this particular occasion it was not unsettling πŸ™‚

  13. I can agree with the comment before me, I often prefer my dogs company more than most humans, she had an op recently and wasn’t allowed out for walks, It felt very strange to go walking alone, maybe you should get a dog πŸ˜‰ I couldn’t be without her such a gift.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      πŸ™‚ I am aware how much your dog means to you Maria. I hope she is recovering.

      I think if I ever make the move to Whitby I will be very tempted to get a dog πŸ™‚

  14. David,

    Dog walkers are, in many ways, similar to couples. They are not walking alone. But, walking alone does have some benefits. You notice more of the things around you. The poetry you write is born from that. If you were walking with a dog, or another person, the poem would have been about something else entirely. As it is, the sea (first stanza) is your true companion for this morning walk. I experience the same reassurance when I am standing in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains.

    I hope you are feeling a lot better.

    Much love,

    • belfastdavid Says:

      You know me well Shirley,

      I am very content in the company of the sea – my next poem will reflect just that πŸ™‚
      And I do know the peace which mountains bring to you.

      I am feeling much better, thank you

      Much love

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