Along the Shore

A ghazal by Karen Jane Cannon

Two donkeys walking roughshod along the shore,
Where the sea breaks her silence along the shore.

The blood sun slips into itself, leaving gold pools
Of trapoed salt water along the shore.

Yet Tennyson’s Isle is hazy, the bar lost
In the mist that never lifts along the shore.

The donkeys pick through the rubble of the last tide,
Stop to nip the saltgrass tufting along the shore.

Almond eyes outlined with the ash of past lives,
They carry the burden of many lifetimes along the shore,

Past the bench with a dull brass plaque, in memory of
A ship’s surgeon, his spirit drifts along the shore—

The Ruler of the Waves. Next to it, a second, bright plaque,
For the son: a ghost stalking ghosts along the shore—

The Waver of the Rules. The gulls wheel and fall
Into the waves that break, break, break along the shore.

The hissing shallows call my name, draw me
weightless as echoes, along the shore.


 First published in Envoi and is included in Karen’s poetry pamphlet, Emergency Mints (Paper Swans Press, 2018)

The beach featured in the poem is at Tanners Lane, South Baddersley..

You can find out more about Karen Jane Cannon here:

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