On Farnborough Sands

For Nerida


A child might fill a pail with broken
shells that may appear intact,
until you hold them in your palms
and see the chips, the flaws, the cracks;
in winter, you find stingray barbs
washed up without the flesh attached,
but this morning there are few
new trophies to distract our feet.

Before us lies the boundless,
glistening vista of the sun-glazed beach,
a line of clouds uncurling from
a children’s steam train, heading east
beneath pellucid azure planes;
the languid tide still half asleep,
the moist sand intricately worked
and patterned with crabs’ bas-reliefs;
cleansed air regenerating lungs,
dim headlands bulking at our backs
as blue and gold emulsify, the shore
unbales its homespun swathe ~

The bolt of glinting, gritty cloth,
loose-loomed by time and gravity,
shifts to accommodate weight borne
by feet in childhood and in age;
gives winds permission to abrade;
weaves synergies with dunes and waves,
while half-remembered childhood
haunts the yet unwritten, unscathed page.

Jena Woodhouse


Jena Woodhouse’s latest publication is Green Dance: Tamborine Mountain Poems (Calanthe Press 2018).

© 2018