after the last boat 

then to awaken

only
after the last boat has left

water and wine in the cupboard
sun on an empty shelf

on the beach of unfathomable forms
to sit awhile at rest

I was told that each grain of sand is unique

here
where miracles are unlikely

the jar

I found an old jar in her kitchen
that for long had remained unused

it was like one I remembered from childhood
that I used to cling on to

the trees in my mother’s garden were many and beautiful
though she lived in a small apartment
by the sea

of the silent guest at her table
she would talk to her family

yes the trees in my mother’s garden were beautiful
but the jar
I threw into the sea

of the silent guest at her table
the sea has no memory

navigation 

when conversation became difficult
I made for the shelter of the trees
looking back across the sun-bleached field
to where the party was in full swing
appreciating the amplitude of tall silences
that I could navigate more easily

from there I could see you slowly circling
coming to rest
before finally heading out

navigation

ascertaining a position
calculating the most favourable route
between one point and another

even when there is no point at all

navigation

just moving around

it takes skill

practice

finesse

when even gentle waters
can seem treacherous

safer amid trees

they don’t move around

at least don’t appear to

I whispered a quiet thank you
and plotted a course back

theft at Lyme Regis

four glass coasters
bought at Lyme Regis
when the children were young
and life was easy

life was never easy

photographing them now in sunlight
they seem fabulous beyond compare
blue from another ocean
I never knew existed 
where sea urchins devour whales
amid bubbles of aquamarine
and half-formed monsters
guard a pirate treasure hardly seen
at the time

joy passes too quickly for us to grasp
life is a bauble
a theft
don’t expect miracles
when the miracle has already passed 

lost in a sea
preserved in glass

crossing 

on the way back to the mainland
I met a man who said he could see angels

I dismissed this as fairytale
but he was adamant

now as dark waters of night gather in
I remember him

and realise I am still crossing

dark island

the waters around the little bay
are wild and inhospitable

always I sail away again
beaten by the currents

yet always I return to my beloved shore

my rock

my continent

my dark island

[first posted 20 March 2015]

the welcome guest

on the second night we sang songs of abandonment
and on the third night
and the fourth
and on every night
until the welcome guest said to us

why do you sing these songs to me
for these are the songs sung by the sea
and sung by the wind that shakes the trees

sing again that song you sang before
for that is the most terrible
and beautiful of all

but none of us could recall
any song that came before

from another ocean 

tales were told at table

that night
and when it came to my turn

I said
why is it always my turn

and the answer came back
you’re the only one

here
so I recounted the days of my

youth
which I missed grievously

and told
of sorrows and lost loves

and worse things
wearing my heart wide open

recalling
the story of the whale mother

singing
to her stolen calf unceasingly

even
from another ocean

harbour lights

untouchable is what we become
unreachable by anyone

an old boat
holed and beached
adrift in memory

fingers of the restless sea
clawing the shingle for purchase

grant us peace and grace
the harbour of a much-loved face

and harbour lights
harbour lights
as we turn to face the night
untouchable

[first posted 7 Feb. 2015]

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