We Saw A Mermaid

We saw a mermaid

We saw a mermaid

She swam with the sun that flecked the sea
and offered “play catch” for a modest fee.
“A tea from you both is all I ask
to turn to pearls – a precious task,
for the sorrows of childhood are balm to my heart
to know your compassion will cure all that is stark”.

We did as she wished and swam by her side
until there came a chill with the tide.
“Go now little landmaids, I must to the deep”
Oh must you – we chorused, “Yes weep on my cheek
then kiss me but once lest my spell entrance
and my gift to you both – see the sun doth dance,
as it will for all time that you hold to grace:
remember we merfolk – ah the tide – I must race.

The Evening Sun

The Evening Sun

Arched by the early Autumn sky
(without even a horizon haze)
along the sea edge, skipping the wavelets
the children came, wearing their true nature.
Each clothed only in the warm Siberian gold
of the evening.

It was the moment tempered by truth,
a wholeness created by simplicity.

Such matter costs nothing:
the priceless crystal of experience
when inner contentment counterpoints
to a timeless air,
in true harmony
with the salt wind whisp' from the sea.


A Little Venus

A Little Venus

I remember her sitting, Canute like
at the sea edge, a toe tipping the near calm,
pointing with a wild elegance, as any true follower
of Dionysian dance might.

My mind set flight to old and distant oceans
where those ever youthful Goddesses, Aphrodite,
Dionea, visions of living art
broke the heart of even the wisest fool.

Well to be the tool of such might be life itself.

But so much for sentiment,
a seventh wave surge caught us unaware.
Well wetted my little Venus,
bare of modesty, discarded her printed cloth
and ran to the distance
until her laughter was lost
in the rising chatter of beach pebbles.

Rainy Days

Rainy Days

During those wet, wild wind days
I would dream for hours
cosset on the window seat:
replete with melancholy, hoping for the sun.
But when the rain had run
laugh at my folly for feigning false tears.

Those childhood fears of boredom,
the thralldom of the silent wait for sweeter climes.

The clock chimes three.
My reverie is broken …
A trinity of remembrance: Faith, Hope
and grey sea days.

With time it is the latter
which most often holds me.
Is its matter the charity of my growing?


Sea Memories (or the first sighting)

Sea Memories
(or the first sighting)

Remember how we wildly raced, the first to sight the sea:
then after, when had won the hill, would stop, spellbound
to pant and feast our fill.

Two children caught, transfixed, held, as by some old and mannered art
their figures drawn to mark the moment's mystery.

( Till time shall crack and craze his rime so dull the colour of the mind).

And then those soft, moist, hazy views
which lay-a-cloak and thus confuse …

Oh how we willed to see the silver strip
that with our hopes seemed so to slip into a void.

But then while nature teased and toyed
we'd sense the ribbon light laid from the land, the furthest edge of sea …

And as the ocean cleared to cut the sky
our naked limbs cleaved to the cry …

The sea, the sea, the sea!



I first saw Tilly on boulder beach, lean
lanky child in grub'd rubb'd flutter frock. Seen
chasing billows, filling dress: arms downy, downward press
cloth-cotton sizes small … rise
quarter down her thighs,
convenient brief to test
wild wavelets stingling crest.

Grey eyes, long lashed – sand hair, wild topped
teeth trifle large but chisel cut: chat stopped
only for an instant. Then that smile: what
artful ploy … but tender.
Trailed garden seaweed, slender
fingers scooping moated plot
round stone piled castle top.

At times when seeming 'lone
she'd discard clinging, modest shift
to run and swim
in naked skin:
sun shimmered, wind flecked
goosing limb.
Shout fearless to white water's
belly salting
between arch legs taunting.

Tilly's play grew girlhood's promise … Broke!
I never saw her more:
but keep a piece of child in store
to ease a moment's melancholy.


Our Secret Valley

Our Secret Valley

In our river valley
the water music has tuned with the air
long ages before we walked the skirting path
to dare the dapple dancing of the river run.

There, beneath the sun, fragmented
in a glittering shower
we built our bower
home wrought, wove green for a day.

But childhood ends, we could not stay
forever feckless, reckless of our sowing,
growing adult tares.

The trees still stand and wear
their mantle leaves,
the brook still sings and weaves
its artless way.

Who grieves?

Not Nature – but our nature.
Sheaves of rank weeds are poor posies,
greed and passion – yes, a false fashion
where once we were only clothed in light.