Robert Goddard

The Unmade Sea

I stumble from my unmade bed

To watch the unmade sea

Where mighty swells surge to the beach

And crash and churn, cold fingers reach

To claim the souls of wounded gulls

That limp among the broken hulls

Strewn by the surf-washed quay


Offshore the banshees rage and howl

To whip the spindrift’s scream

The ocean’s blankets toss and tumble

Sheets of foam criss-cross and crumple

Grey-green pillows topped with blue

Heap upon heap of wrack and spume

Poseidon’s fevered dream


Beneath the churning, turbid waters

Below the roiling froth

Deep down where hungry shadows flit

Are silent screams when bodies bit

The crunch of shell and squelch of brains

Leave whispered hopes and scant remains

In silt and muddy broth

So as you drift in restful slumber

Spare a thought for those

Who lie beneath the ceaseless waves,

Know not the peace of earth-bound graves

But roll and rock in fitful sleep

Amid the nightmare of the deep

Their bones to decompose


And when along the sun-washed strand

A wreath of kelp you find

Remember then the maelstrom ferment

And spray and scud and tide and torment

From which the lords of chaos gripped

And tore that stem from rocks they ripped

With hidden lives entwined

A Walk with God

Pamela’s breath formed a vaporous cloud as she stepped into the crisp autumn morning of the Dingle Peninsula. It would, she decided, be a perfect day for a walk with God.

She shrugged on her old waxed cotton coat, grimy from years of such walks. It was clammy and cold on the outside, but the quilted tartan lining was warm and comforting and smelled faintly of her lavender perfume.

Pamela’s feet were snug in multi-coloured woollen socks, but one big toe was making a bid for freedom she noticed, as she thrust her feet into muddy green wellies. That would mean more darning beside the fire later on, and a struggle to clip her thick yellow toenails, which were more difficult to reach with each passing year.

She must get going. God was impatient with her and she had a lot she wanted to tell him on the way. It was a ritual that had become important, unburdening her heart amidst the dunes, her warm words whisked away on the sea breeze. God was with her always, of course, but somehow, the fresh air and freedom of the sea strand made her thoughts spill out. He was a great listener. She could tell him anything out here, she felt, without being judged.                                                 

Soon Pamela was trudging between the marram grass tufts, feet sinking into soft sand as the froth-topped waves came into view. A flock of small birds flitted across the sea, their undersides sparkling like a shoal of silvery fish in the morning sun as they twisted and turned after their zig-zag leader.

Pamela stopped and sat on a tussock, her boots settled in the powdery sand. She called on God to come and sit with her. She liked him close so they could share the magic of the shore, sea and sky quietly together. After a couple of minutes she turned to him with loving eyes and ruffled his ears. He cocked one eyebrow expectantly and tilted his head.

“Come on now, God,” she said. “Let’s be gettin’ home for our breakfast.” He responded with an excited yelp and raced off between the dunes in the direction of their cabin, where a thin wisp of smoke trailed from the chimney.

Pamela smiled, struggled to her feet and set off after him. She didn’t care what other people thought. In this remote corner of western Ireland, she knew that she and God shared a little piece of heaven.


Our Colony on Mother Moon


© 2019 Tapestry, Annual TAMUK Women & Gender Studies Journal

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