Saturday, 24 October 2009

Poetry Upfront: on the beach (commentary)

Some people are sitting on blankets, sipping from hot flasks. A candle has been set, trembling, on the sand. The rain gains pace. Their hair and skin start to drip and they move for shelter. On the grassy edge of the beach, beneath a brick-stone wall, they form a circle. Light beams approach from the other end. Stalwarts and novices join in. Nearby, shady deals are done. The rain eases but the wind picks up, and words are thrown into it like spells. Waves of fine sand blow past. Bats gather above. Dogs frolic about. Headlights lick the wall. Passers-by snigger at the installation of candles and poems. (There are banshees, aliens infiltrating the beach, Seamus Heaney's eyes, mermaids returning to sea.) The cold deepens, and patience starts to break down, indulgence to wear thin. Mouths dry. In the distance the sea is black. A fresh gust blows each of them back to their habitats.

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