"The Staithe"

How long has it looked this way? -
these shallows glazed with sundown,
as round them, the saltings settle;
the gulls, for once, have given up on quarrel,
a woman whistles to her dog, and out
in the estuary, where the pintails nestle,
a red boat rides on a long white rope.
Further still, the curve of the earth is unmissable;
why ever did they think it flat? In shore,
greater and lesser, butterflies bloom from the aster.
I thought there would be more time.