Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Coast Story

I wrote this early in 2013, but I read it this week at an open mic event - Poems & Pints in Carmarthen. Always pleased when someone asks for a copy, so here it is.

Coast story 
Remembrances tremble in circling currents,
crowds are gathered here in this solitary place.
Stories live in the cool air, that no words will tell,
as centuries of memories fill wide open space.

A photograph she gave me,
a monochrome of the lonely church,
where people make romantic trysts;
and later there are weddings and
brides’ veils blow in the everlasting mists,
making sea horses on distant oceans.

Bunches of marguerites wave in the breeze
on banks beside the road,
shining white around the lichen-stuck walls
of this famous little place.

This ancient hill that we used to climb
on Christmas mornings;
dog leading, wagging her joy;
kids trailing, complaining, ‘do we have to?’
Yes, we do!
We shivered in icy winds on the highest ridge
until numb fingers turned to stone.
And other times we stood dripping in thin rain.

Where the fishermen died,
down there by the rocks,
always remember them when we are here.
The giant slipping cliffs,
a monument to two brothers.
They were husbands too, and fathers;
and the sea whispers their names as the tide crashes.

Unreadable gravestones keep secrets
in the churchyard, but still
they sound the chord of remembrance.

Go further back and feel the tremor of
the earliest blacksmith’s forge
as it echoes from the grassy ridge;
and rumbles like tumbling rocks in the gorge.

Come closer, feel the piety of the pilgrims
who journeyed to this ageless place of saints,
their strength lives here.

And remember on Red Sunday,
the Flanders men who were flayed on the sand,
the invasion force bleeding into the tide;
and the dancing victors shaking every hand.

This too, is where sailors took their ease,
resting from the labour of heavy seas.
Feel their power in this air,
their vigorous salty spirit everywhere.

And remember too, this summertime,
when the space is filled with voices
as children splash and run in waves
from the square beach.
See the dolphins leap, 
trailing drops of  sunshine.