Each cardinal point

Tells of Wasteland.

Primordial sand –

shifting under a frozen wind,

hissing with voices of spirits

shipwrecked on this skeleton coast,

rimmed by a glittering line of sea.


Here castaway fragments and relics

are spat after decades adrift

from the blue-throated Ocean

and maw of Estuary.

Husks of things rustle

with the dry scuttle of grains

at the foot of crumbling dunes –

Earth’s ebbing with each tide to feed

the ever-hungry sea.


Living footfalls trace this place of endings

with crunch of empty shell and crisp-brittle

crack of lost urchins:

Calcium Carbonate – chalk to dust

in a driftwood boneyard

where desolate roots reach, beseech

the pitiless sky, like the arms of a crazy woman;

a dinosaur rib-cage in each whitened heap.


But with each turn of a gypsy moon’s

round face, all is washed and re-framed.

Shell innards polished to spirals of pinkish pearl,

Pastel-shaded plastic tears pepper the edge of the world.

You see the broken beauties, pull them free

Fill your pockets and gaze on the skittish sea

That calls your salted blood.


Though you try to stay anchored

to land-stranded love

You’re already away;

barnacle-bottomed, horizon-bound.

New shores to be found;

The fall and rise of the Shearwater’s realm,

The call of the storm,

The lure of the helm.


10 thoughts on “Shipwreck(ed)

    1. Thanks Simon, I’m very grateful. I identify with the ‘you’ of the poem i think, though it kind of wrote itself. Inspired by Cefn Sidan, a beach whose Welsh name sounds like the whisper of wind along sand.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nothing like the poems that write themselves. Often they feel the most profound. I’m liking the Cefn Sidan – the whisper of wind along sand. I also thought of my trip to UK in 2012, and of the Welsh and Cornish coasts. Both said much to me then, but I still don’t have the words. Thanks for you blog, Polly. It’s always homey.


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