Two Tree Island is a small island lying north-east of Canvey Island and south-west of Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, England. It covers 257 hectares (640 acres) and is connected to the mainland at Leigh by a bridge.
The island was reclaimed from the Thames Estuary in the 18th century and used as pasture until 1910 when a sewage works was built on it. From 1936, the entire island was used as a landfill site; this was later reduced to a single small site on the island in 1974. It is now a nature reserve, run by Essex Wildlife Trust, and the eastern half is part of the Leigh National Nature Reserve.
Two Tree Island’s an odd place: not quite the sea, not interesting enough to be land. It doesn’t help this place was a landfill site for decades, but now you’ll only find dog walkers and aircraft enthusiasts amongst the birds and occasional skateboarder. It is a great metaphor for the borough, however: if all you do is take visuals as a guide, so much depth and detail of any place is lost.
This was the first piece to be both written and place photographed; with these words a number of important personal challenges were surmounted. It’s been a long journey as a writer to get here, beginning a new chapter in both life and ability. These words reflect not only evolution, but a distinct line drawn in Essex silt: this is where I begin and end.
I am words written, feelings expressed, without fear.
I came here to begin
next chapter’s transformation
remade through other’s imagery,
earth to sky,
adheres, presenting unexpectedly
grubby printed brilliance, webbed feet
pointing path, open silt bar
my usual; steaming,
self abstained, regained.
I asked for a sign;
Pier’s glorious insertion, failures forgotten
thousand harsh rejections sail away
masts of possibility remain,
into grateful eyes.
Bleak, hoarse failure recedes
green runway, as above, first plane
mumbling to trains.