Along the shore, kids tousle, dogs leap.
Seagulls gather and scatter.
Waves course shoreward slapping themselves
and then stretching out, long and slow on the sand
and then another, and then another.

The tide of the sea is inching shoreward,
claiming footprints, washing sand.
Each movement of water, each flick of wave,
each deposit of sand is a different moment.
But your grief is a constant like the sound of the sea.

There will be sunshine and beautiful days.
There will be seagulls and sand castles.
You will carry the stone of your grief
tumbling it in the pulse of your heart
and with time it will get less sharp.

But now is the time to carry it like treasure,
hard and crystalline and precious and pure.
Now is the time for storms.


I wrote this poem (or an early draft of it ) some years ago when friends lost a baby at birth. It reminds me of a favourite poem by Michael Leunig. He did it with an exquisite cartoon. It is number 193 of 198 (six from the bottom) here :

When the heart  
(by Michael Leunig)

When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken,
Do not clutch it;
Let the wound lie open.
Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt,
And let it sting.
Let a stray dog lick it,
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell,
And let it ring.

7 thoughts on “Shore

      1. The cartoon I framed said things like: ‘hold it like you’d hold a horse, … a live fish, … how you’d open the door for a queen, … and so on. The IT isn’t identified but obviously something precious. The last frame said: letting go is just as difficult. Love the guy. Grieving does get less with time, even if only just a little. Burst into tears just the other day about my father who has passed on about 7 years ago now! Be well.

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