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The New Rime

Our artists' creative work so far, R&D Phase 1, summer 2021...

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This process is a relay for our creative team. This stage of R&D is a journey of stories begetting stories. We began in Amble - with the sights and sounds, and stories from the community - which has led to this new imagining of The Rime by Rue Collinge, our poet dramaturg, and visual artist Beatrice Keelan's graphic score.


Now, these new works have been passed onto the next stage of the process. We hope you enjoy these early pieces as much as the artists have the making of them.

The Rime


Remember biking through the streets -

your front wheel pitted by the salt -

big whizz, slick swerve, yelling out,

I can’t slow down - it’s not my fault!


Remember, though the sky was dark,

squinting at each street’s pale sign,

nervous that you’d lost your way,

desperate that you’d be on time -


Remember that the town square buzzed

though the church had just chimed four -

the bells awake, and you, and them,

as you made your way to Amble’s shore -


Howay, pet! in sleep-gruff tones -

the distant clang of bobbing masts -

the mewl and shriek of greedy gulls -

the staithes, still mired in the past -


Scant years ago, the coal trains rolled

along these tracks - no more, no more -

to tumble coal from metal backs

through chutes into that gaping maw -


The boats back then - fed well on coal,

their bellies full, their throats aglow -

today, you’d hear a muttered cough

splutter, gutter, purring low - now


market. Remember well the whiff

of kippers smoking on the breeze -

salt, and mud, and engine oil -

and through it all, the sea, the sea -


Remember when the hiss turned sharp -

harsh water striking on the stones -

the slap-bam-boom of bigger waves

which lurched from others all alone -


Remember skidding to a stop

with noisy, panting gulps of air

to see the skipper laugh at you,

to see the little boat moored there -


You ready for our treasure hunt?

Got all your gear? It’s cold -

Remember scowling yeah at him -

you’d done as you were told -


Remember that you left your bike -

would still be there when you got back -

you didn’t have to climb down far,

one hand ladder, one hand pack -


Remember that he nodded once,

then set to wake Her from her sleep -

Northern Lass - grey, white, and blue,

faded now, her bow sea-steeped -


She rumbled swiftly back to life,

jerked forward, eager for the sea -

so like a horse let from a stable,

slim neck stretched out eagerly -


Each swell a swoop from side to side

which rendered steady legs unsure -

you’d never seen how small home looked

from a boat, this far from shore -


Rudder - judder - shuddering -

thrum that thrilled your sleepy bones -

the rhythm - up, up, up and down -

the merge of wind and motor’s drone -


We’re here, he said, and, jumping,

you could see that he had halted her -

she bobbed in water grey and deep,

a steady presence, strong and sure -


It’s here? you whispered - itchy feet -

wishing you could reach the sand

where deep below, the shipwreck lay,

asleep, adrift, alone, unmanned -


He stood by you, leaned on the rail,

spoke of a special life-long thrall,

of charts that mapped the secret deeps,

of those who chose to learn them all,


of waters rich and deep and wide,

of winds that promised speed or slow,

of storms that turned the skies to night,

of lives kept by the undertow -


and as he spoke, you saw the sails,

the billow of the wind made seen,

crews who knew their ship so well

they were a breathing, brisk machine -


Remember that you ached to see

that ancient shipwreck’s hollow bones -

ducked, so that you might not show

the dawning frown, unuttered groan -


Remember that he wasn’t fooled -

you could see it in his gentle lines -

he bent to grab the bucket, said,

Here’s our treasure. Right on time.


Oh! There they were! A leaping pod

of rubber backs, all gleaming grey,

emerging from a hundred hills

in time to hear your Granda say


Listen, can you hear the wood?

The creak of groaning timber decks?

The squeak of rope against the mast?

The click as ghostly feet take steps?


The dolphins - they had all the sea

brimming in their clever throats -

chirping - singing - whistling -

their faces winking at the boat -


Remember that the fish was cold,

slipping as you closed your fist -

Remember that you made a face,

determined to deliver it -


Remember that the wave was strong -

high and fierce - so snap-slap quick -

you dropped like stone, twisting - tiny -

sprawling into Neptune’s drink -


Thick water black and icy cold -

hot blood roaring in your ears -

rolling - were you up or down? -

flashing, choking screams of fear -


Remember that you felt a surge -

one sturdy back push you aloft -

a grinning face up close, up close -

chirping as you choked and coughed -


and then the ring came sailing down -

Grab it, lass! - and tugging swift

your Granda swept you back on board

fussing - cursing - blustering -


Remember that you gasped for air

and brought up salty sea instead -

remember that he wouldn’t let

go your sodden, wheezing head -


Remember that you saw his fear,

sketched into that grizzled face -

You weren’t supposed to dive for it!

a joke, though you could hear the strain -


Wet clothes peeled like seal’s skin,

revealed you giggling and pale –

remember that you grinned at him -

warm towel and all - as you set sail -


Remember that his back relaxed

as Northern Lass was turned for home -

remember thinking treasure thoughts

as dolphins dashed the sea to foam -


Remember when the sky grew soft -

that sleepy, wistful kind of grey,

with streaks of rose and apricot

to mark the passing of the day -


Remember that the harbour seemed,

as Northern Lass came home at last,

to glow afresh in sunset’s gleam

to the whizz-clink of a hundred masts -


Remember, as you rode the streets

back to home, and chips, and bed -

the strains of jazz and tapping feet

to Van de Valk from the old Coquet -


Remember that the front gate squeaked -

Remember that the lights were on -

Remember that the chips were hot -

Remember - when you came back home.

Beatrice Keelan's Graphic Score

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When I became involved in this project, I was immediately drawn in by the range of opposing
forces presented by the Amble Harbour recordings and the community engagement thus far.
Both represent the quiet, calm and more nostalgic elements of growing up by the sea, and
simultaneously the wild energy and unpredictable sense of adventure. These themes run
through “The Rime”, starting with the chaos of a sea voyage and developing to portray the lone
mariner, surrounded by nothing but seemingly endless, unmoving water. To translate all this into
a graphic score, I visually portrayed the calmer and energetic sides of the ocean stemming from
a motif of the moon; the same moon that watches over an adventuring sailor and those they are
returning to back home.

This poem and graphic score are now being taken forward into the second stage of R&D, and used by Matthew Tuckey and Katie Doherty as inspiration for their compositions for The Rime.

The Creative Team for The Rime R&D Phase 1

Matthew Tuckey - Sound Artist and Creative Producer

Rue Collinge - Poet Dramaturg and Community Artist

Beatrice Keelan - Visual Artist

Corrie Livesey - Field Assistant and Sound Librarian

Katie Doherty - Community Artist Advisor

Cinzia Hardy - Producing Advisor


Initial Digital Scrapbook website design and graphics by Rue Collinge.


Original field recordings by Matthew Tuckey, assisted by Corrie Livesey.


Pictures by Corrie Livesey, Rue Collinge and Matthew Tuckey.


All rights reserved.


Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.


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