SPAN

Dawn, and high over the suburbs a mustering
of seagulls, in, I supposed, from the clarity of sea

to riddle the garbage-dumps and manicured duck-ponds
for scavengings; they circled, screaming, gave

directions to one another, like a crowd
in belted raincoats waiting for the scattering

into another day. Forenoon I stood on Keel Beach,
absorbed by the rough Atlantic, how it smashed

with unequal beauty its slow inexorable waves
into the coast; the sand was wet, a mirror

for the lumbering caravans of clouds, and a pallid moon
stood over the mountains. Evening, and a line

of wrack sizzled after tide, sea-excrement, rejecta,
the washed-out corpse of a gull already raising stench.

I lit a candle in the dark church, a small flame, like a word
that wanted to hold within itself the tidal pull of our beloved

dead, the bulked hills, the moon lightening the sky.


        John F. Deane 2005