Tides

Spray stings our eyes.
Crouched by the sea wall
we watch the waves break,
creamy, hissing, as they
rake back pebbles with a sound
like thousands clapping.

Later, fought to a finish,
the undertow retreats,
the sea smooths out its folds,
finds equilbrium
like wine poured in a glass.

Baked in sunlight
the harbour stinks of weed,
dead fish, marine oil.
Gulls strut the mud
like greedy pillagers after battle.

The beach is blank
scraped clean
blanching at each step.
Later it will be a palimpsest of stories –
a dog’s paws printed shallower
and wider as it runs;
a sandcastle, untenanted
and fallen into disrepair –
and gulls’ webs pressed like leaves
into the sand.

Try another poem here

Side effects

 

 

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Pooil Vash

For twenty years I lived on the Isle of Man, an island thirty miles long and about fifteen wide, set in the Irish Sea. The sheep outnumbered its human inhabitants, or it seemed that way. It is a place of big skies, storms that shake the houses, and summer days when the island basks in the sunlight like a cat.

This poem is about  the no-mans land which lies between the land and the sea – the caves and rocks which still contain remnants of the past.

Pooil Vash

Where the waves have worn
a ragged gash into the cliff.

You can get there at low tide,
feel the sand sink
under your feet, climb rocks
slimed with weed.

Inside, gravel rasps under each step,
sunlight, ambered by the cracked sky,
dribbles down broken strata
to glimmer on the pool beneath.

They find bones here, sometimes, skulls
split like broken eggs
and chipped flints, light as leaves,
sharp enough to slice a vein
or scrape a fleece.

The half dark smells of wrack
and sulphur, seep and rot –
the slow stink of creation.

 

Try another poem here  Side effects

 

Beach

Beach

Somewhere, a long way,
the sea- a second horizon line.

Here, a blank sheet of sand.
The ground gives, blanching at each step.

Later it will be a palimpsest
of stories, a circle scrabbled
by eager children;
a dog’s paws printed shallower
and wider as it runs;
serpentining bike tracks and
gulls’ webs pressed like leaves
into the sand.

This is not a new poem. I wrote it five or six years ago when we were visiting family in the Isle of Man. It’s not quite the poem I hoped for and I post it here because I want to use it as a starting point for something else.
Let’s see what we can salvage.
I don’t like the start. It’s all too vague. Too vanilla.
I do like “ The ground gives, blanching at each step” – there’s movement here. That works.
I’m not sure about “palimpsest) ( it’s a manuscript which has been scribbled over and re-used) Shall I keep it ? Maybe

The rest of the poem is straight description – stories and pictures drawn from the marks on the sand. It works…a bit…but it doesn’t go deep enough for me. Standing on the tideline is a curious existence. You’re standing where fish swam a few hours before. It’s not one place.It’s two places. And tomorrow morning there will be no scrabbles or bike tracks in the sand…the tideline only exists for now…

So. I’ve got some ideas. Add to them if you like. I’ll go and punt a few sentences about.

If you want to hear the poem read then go here :

https://soundcloud.com/superfortress99/beach … on #SoundCloud