Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shells

(Morecambe Bay, February 2004)

Grey skies, cold and bitter wind
a share of a damp mattress
in an unheated room.

You follow orders from the brother
to the man who let your cousin die
in a truck approaching Dover.

Your parents wait back home
with nothing but pain and a photo of you
smiling through the English rain.

Shells held to your ear
murmured promises, but they are empty
here in devil’s beach.

Treacherous sands shift
impossible to know where is safe
where will suck away your life.



Speaking freely for Read Write Poem

reposted for Refugee Week

21 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

Juliet, you made me sit up straight and read it again. So vivid and so poignant.

totomai said...

very poignant indeed. the poem echoes the voice of the speaker..

reginaclarejane said...

I remember when that happened, all those lives lost out there as the tides came in... how terrifying that must have been...
You spoke for them beautifully, Juliet...

anthonynorth said...

It was a terrible incident, and my wife can testify to the treacherousness of Morecambe Bay, as she used to live quite close to it for a time. It was criminal madness, what happened there.
You remember it well.

christine said...

Written with real compassion. Great poem.

Linda Jacobs said...

Very tight images almost like someone trying to hold the pain inside! So well done!

susan said...

Your parents wait back home
with nothing but pain and a photo of you
smiling through the English rain.

Says a lot. Glad to be reading your work again.

Jo said...

very powerful, very moving. My aunt lives there, her husband was involved in protesting what happened first time round and trying to ensure it doesn't happen again but the authorities do next to nothing, it is still going on, different immigrants, same tragedy heading.

Scot said...

good poem with excellent imagery, puts me right there.

polona said...

wonderfully poignant!
(is that an oxymoron? anyway, love it)

daisies said...

so fabulous.

Billy said...

A damp mattress in an unheated room. What a powerful image.

Billy said...

A damp mattress in an unheated room. What a powerful image.

Jessica said...

this is especially evocative, especially the last 2 stanzas.

Noah the Great said...

OHHHH! Now, this is writing!

paisley said...

wonderfully written.. it makes me think of the numerous people that are sucked out to sea from the precarious "safety" of the northern califonia beaches every year...

Greyscale Territory said...

This is so cutting and sad. Unfortunately it is a reality.

Gemma

Katherine said...

Concise and intense. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Rethabile said...

Takes me there. Bravo. And I'd rather be a declared, not a secret, admirer.
:-)

A.Decker said...

Very compelling.

René Wing said...

a powerful poem, the closing lines especially... beautiful