Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Friday, 4 November 2016


This poem received a runners-up prize in a UK competition last week. I don’t tend to enter many competitions but I suspected that Flotsam had the sort of contemporary relevance that might get it noticed, so I sent it off and crossed my fingers.
Competition success or not, I think it’s a strong poem, carefully crafted, that deserves to be read.

(Noun: wreckage, remains; debris, detritus, waste, dross, refuse, scrap, trash, garbage, rubbish.) 

The sea does not want her.
It takes the others:
her, it discards
half-dead on shingle-sand,
the reek of salty fear
on her brown skin.

Gulls shriek
and quarrel overhead.
She lies face down
barely breathing,
a human starfish,
one black asterisk
referencing nothing.

on wet shingle,
she counts her stations:
hunger, terror, flight,
abuse, exploitation,
a merciless sea

that does not want her
spins like a mirage:
a half-moon cove,
gaunt trees
aligned like bars,
European houses.

She claws wet gravel,
draws herself
to her knees,
kneels to vomit.
Along the beach,
policemen come.

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