On the cliff top.

Lay out your thoughts gently,
across a haze of misty blue.
Allow the sea to speak-
to be is not always to do.
You are not what you have earned.

Up sticks and take stock-
there are secrets to find,
new discoveries waiting,
hidden at the back of your mind.
See what you know.

Our striving is just waves on water,
driven by the winds of chance.
Waves sweep across our surface,
rolling, repeating, remembering,
hiding hidden currents of fear.

Breathe in deeply.
Relish the fresh clear air.
Put your life on hold.
Be here- now!

Digging for Bait.

My dad and I spent hours at low tide
searching for worms.
Special worms.
Nothing like the ones at home.
Worms straight out of science fiction,
worms from lurid, shouting posters,
worms from the pits of hell.
Evil worms.
They had thick black hairy skin
and their pulsating bodies
lay hidden beneath the sand.
They were right there
under your feet.
Waiting.

Each worm lay between a tiny wet circle
and a little swirling pile of sand.
It was my job to look for these,
my dad’s job to dig.
Fast.
As soon as the worm felt that sand move
it sensed danger,
and it tunneled downwards
in a race for its life.
Rippling muscles, fear,
soft sand and the incoming tide
were pitted against my dad’s skill.
The losers ended up
squirming in a dirty bucket,
guts spilling out,
dying by inches.
One more body among many.
A freak show for visiting children to stare at-
objects of disgust and loathing.
All dignity gone.

It was the razor clams
who I felt sorry for.
They were hard to catch.
Long and elegant.
Beautiful. Sharp. Fast.
They lay far out on the beach,
low down in the sand,
like a special secret.
Sometimes if I begged hard
my dad allowed me to take one from the bucket,
lay it down on the sand and watch.
Just when I had lost hope
a strong white tongue
would slip out from the end of the shell,
curl downwards,
and stroke the sand gently,
preparing a way.
Finally, in a sudden lunge
that made me feel like cheering,
the whole shell would rise in the air
and shoot downwards
in a rush of celebration.
Gone.
Each one a life saved.

A Little Life.

I am a small person
living at the edge of a harsh, grey sea.
The world does not ask my opinion.
Few people remember that I am here.
Years roll by with the waves
and the world turns, unnoticed.
The sun comes up.
The clouds roll out.
People come and go,
doing much as others did before them.
Out there, over the horizon
hordes of them scramble,
going somewhere,
streaming through life.
Moving, doing, building.
Spoiling, taking, ravaging.
Times move on
but as I look out
across the wind blown strand
where my scant life plays out,
setting my face to the wind,
there is a kind of peace.
Losses and gains,
failures and achievements
are shown for what they are.
Little changes.
Something endures.

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Storm surge. January 13th 2017

Do not take me for granted.
Do not presume.
Do not toy with me
for I will take you down.
I will prevail.

Do not think that I am benign
simply because I allow you
to dangle your children’s toes
in a soft summer wave.
My force is waiting to strike
and I will unleash it against you
at a time of my choosing.
I am not your friend.

Hidden in my depths
is the power to destroy.
The power of unconsidered hate.
The flash of resentment
long withheld.
A whip sharp bitterness
hides in the sting of my waves,
lashing out at random,
showering venom.
I do as I please.
I take.
I destroy.

Remember my words
as you parade your folly
in the gentle heat
of a long summer day.
You are there
on borrowed time,
bought by my indulgence.
I am waiting for you.
I will come.

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Sun worship.

It is a wild sunrise after a rough night.
The sea is already awake and grumbling,
hurling itself at the beach, bent on having the last word.
The horizon is torn apart by rampant waves.
Spume flies up, lit by the fire of the first rays of light.
Bruised storm clouds drag themselves across the sky,
battered into shades of grey, blue, black and gold-
a tattered, ragbag army limping home.

Life is hiding. Few things are on the move.
Tiny waders dip and scuttle along the waters edge,
holding their nerve, keeping on, keeping on,
and a single crow, a fearless adventurer,
amuses himself after easy pickings along the shoreline
by swooping to taunt a passing dog and make him run.
I breathe in the power of the sunrise, letting it calm my fears,
and drink in the rhythm of the waves.

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