Waymarks on the Beach
The shingle beach shelves into the sea,
a bleak Magwitch shorescape,
sickly sea kale, sea thistles
and tall bracken-like plants
with tiny toast-brown berries.
There’s a lusterware of sea-shells,
whorls of cockle and winkle shells,
the dark-tortoiseshell of mussel,
tiger cowrie and precious whelk.
To my left the white cliffs of Ramsgate,
behind me the laconic mansions
of Sandwich Bay and a changeling moon.
The Land I’m facing must be France
where young men have surrendered their dreams
but my view is tarnished with haze.
Someone has made a ring-around-the-roses
of shells, that has been trampled on,
passing on a coded message
like the secret sign language of travellers.
I pick up a broken conch, put it to my ear.
It holds the mantra of a migrant.