The pier to the lighthouse is closed for the day
I am neck deep in spindrift
and frozen at the gate of a crescent moon
That has been eclipsed by the wanting of a volcanic sea
that cannot be disturbed, there is only
and warning blasts that surely the Danes must hear.
They lambaste, quieten
The tide wants it back.
The crescent, the stripes
that encircle the monolith, red and white
the wrought iron railings and granite bricks
the lantern room and the lantern light.
And I, too, want it back.
This is a memorial
to the airborne sand that hurts the eyes
But no less alive, for that
Soothed by the snug embrace of an amnesiac
‘Have you got any jacks?’ she’d say
at the card table,
after the scones (dropped)
and after the tea, she’d say,
‘Can I give you a penny for that?’
I, too, cannot remember how to play.
In 1942 a bomb had fallen
Just as the cards fell from the hand, and scattered
Under the table they braced, shielding from shrapnel of a neighbouring house
Only the boy survived,
Having left the Anderson shelter to retrieve his coat.
A year later my father was born
Into the tremors and ceaseless grasping of aftershocks
A difficult baby, my grandmother said
‘He did not like to be held’
The lighthouse does not wish to be held
Captive, on its crescent moon.
Not by grasping waves
Not by surges, crests, nor billowing spume
(It does not care for lace)
It does not care for aggression
Nor conditional embrace.
I was exactly where I should not be
Where I could not be,
Where gates were clamped shut
Where high tides pranced with its dusk that threatened
to squeeze me until I could not breathe
Until I could not leave.
And yet, I am exactly where I cannot be
where I cannot breathe.
I turned my back on the North Sea.