There are flowers tied

To black railings above the coast,

A memorial held hostage

To those who went out in a boat

And never returned,

Their crew now embodied in jaded stalks

Whistling shanties under their bonds

To a Mariner’s squall


It’s the same at every beach,

Bouquets by the greyed bunch

Captive and crowding

Above the waves jewelled

Like a serpent’s back glistening

Agate if the day is bright,

Otherwise a dull oily green flat

Sullen under clouds coiling a storm


We built sandcastles upon

One of those shores up north,

And afterwards scrubbed

Impure sand from under our nails

Stooping over water wading

Over our knees

To trade rough beads

For clean palms. We wanted

To gather shells


Sometimes, I visit your grave.

It’s bound inland,

Fixed under a stone that

No lapping can dislodge;

No, not even the heaviest downpour

Can make it move,

Nor flood you from your own ship

A one-ticket voyage

Long ago set sail

With a price I cannot afford


I stand there,

And I think of the day

We heard the gulls call,

Their own unrefined prayer

For rain piercing the warm

Of two hands’ vespers

Beneath an omnipotent sun



Amber R Walker, Hull, Creative Writer, Bookmaker, Lover of art

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