Longlisted Poem 2011

Florence Holmes

Bradfield College, Berkshire

High Tide

Because my memories are gritted with the tang of salt,
The wind fierce on legs flecked with sea spit,
A seagull’s call is enough.
The shells, crunching whispered paths to their
Ancestors, are ground down to a trickling yellow
Under the stretched, aching canopy
Of blue.
My hands do not know how to write a decade of love.
But kneeling below the wind’s weight,
Not looking from the ground I cling to,
A groove appears behind my finger.

Words form in the deepness of sand,
Like the half moons of nails cutting with horrified
Thrill into a child’s smooth arm, marking it.
I wonder if they could be seen from space.
The sea approaches steadily, breathy
Behind my crouched form.  Breakwaters,
Brown crumbled arms reaching out to the water,
Fail to hold it off and sigh-surrender themselves to
The same immersion which caresses words,
Even as they are erased to

We haven’t yet learnt the simple rules of time.
I look down; see the dark dot of a girl curled into sand,
The rows of letters which still are not enough
For even one moment of your love spilling into sea,
Existence come and gone in the call of a seagull, descending.
© Florence Holmes

Project Details

  • Date January 31, 2015
  • Tags 2011 Simplicity - Longlisted Poems