Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Beach Collection

I don't usually write or discuss poetry on this blog, but here's something I'm pleased with that I wrote yesterday. The bulk of the poem is Kenneth Slessor's 'Beach Burial' (probably 80 per cent) but I have modified it to fit current circumstances. The original was about sailor deaths at the battle of El Alamein in ww2.

Beach Collection
(With apologies to Kenneth Slessor)

Softly and humbly to the Edge of Europe
The convoys of dead Syrians come;
At night they sway and wander in the waters far under,
But morning rolls them in the foam.
Beneath the sombre pathos of the rhetoric
Someone, it seems, has time for this,
To pluck them from the shallows and lie them on a blanket
To clean the sand from their nakedness; 
And each death certificate, the driven prerogative of bureaucratic finality,
Bears the last signature of men,
Written with such perplexity, with such bewildered pity,
The words choke as they begin – 
‘Unknown refugee’ – the ghostly pencil
Wavers and fades, the purple drips,
The cold of impending autumn has turned their inscriptions
As blue as drowned men’s lips, 
Dead refugees, gone in search of the same landfall,
Whether as Christians or Muslims,
Or, God forbid, atheists; the sand joins them together,
In a waiting room for some kind of heaven.

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