failure to thrive

I found a flat grey stone on the beach
with scratch marks
scored deeply on one side

it reminded me of something I couldn’t account for
so I placed it in the yard
with other things I don’t care about
and thought no more of it

when I saw it again
the lines seemed more pronounced
(it may have been the light)
but it no longer reminded me of anything
other than how a young child starved of love
will fail to thrive

next day
I returned it to the beach

a three-legged dog followed me home
but I don’t want him

beach hut

I rented a beach hut for the week
and kept it shuttered
it was golden inside
with walls of shimmering azure
beach huts in the rain
any colour you can think of
isn’t it a shame
no one’s going bathing


when we finally shed our bodies
and change
will we cower behind towels
on the shore
or will there be beach huts
I do hope there’ll be beach huts
any colour you can’t think of
beach hut


take me to the village store
they may have found a cure by now
for love
and other things

and if they don’t have what I need
I’ll wander down some lonely street
and when I feel quite out of reach
sit upon the shore
and look for starfish

somewhere on the ocean bed
a sea star makes its own repair
silently regenerates
the starfish

headland 2

I often walk
this stony beach
uncomfortable upon the feet
but conducive to the mind
though I would rather not make rhymes
but wander to a place I know
around the headland
a mile or more
a little bay
a sheltered cove
where I arrange the stones
just so
bereft of any rhyme
or reason
hard to find
in any season
not on maps
nor in guide books
I only find
when I don’t look 


we should drive off to the coast now
you and I
wander to the shore
we don’t go there anymore

the beach was just a place
we took the children to
if we went there on our own
what on earth would we both do
but walk the dog
and wonder where they are

the pattern of the seasons
is all we know
we arrive – we bloom – we fade – we go

all of us depart
none of us survive
we should drive off to the coast now
you and I

[first posted 14 November 2014]

The Beachcomber

He blamed the wind
and the salt-sea spray,
he blamed the gulls that wailed all day.

He blamed the rain
and the slate grey sky,
breakers breaking on the black cliff side,

He blamed the wall,
the high sea wall,
and every pebble on the shingle shore.

He blamed the storm,
as he watched it break,
and felt the sleeper within him wake.

Then he blamed no more
the quiet shore,
nor gold washed up from the ocean floor.

Words on a page
for his sorrow and pain,
the beachcomber never does walk in vain.

But Then Again

About that other business, I’ve had thoughts,
although you may not wish for me to pry,
I wondered if you had considered it,
talked to someone, taken counselling.

It’s not as if I haven’t tried, God knows!
But all the same it might help reassure.
It might just help to put your mind at rest;
we all need have our minds now put at rest.

Or failing that we could go to the sea
and realign the pebbles on the beach,
pile them up in stacks and hear them clank
together, for old times, for one last time.

But then again, it’s nearly time to go.
I really would make ready now to go.