Reading by the author

Let her alone with
the currents to the

eager tide’s, pull of
ebb and gift of flow

to prayers of driftwood
and seaweed notes.

Leave her to the lash of
marram, sting of salt

to the wind-whipped
waves where the

drowned return and
skyline’s rise and fall.

Leave her side-stroke
out of rip currents, feel

the cold gasp of water
the soft tread of sand.

Let her fall, deep
from dislocation

into the subtle art
of breathing out.

Poet’s Note

After many years of working without a sick day, I fell to a mystery illness where for a long time I could only manage a short walk up my driveway. I began to avoid many things and over-protection became a habit.

I live on a small island, which means that you are never far from the shore. Visiting the sea daily, whatever the weather, would put me back on the way to recovery and teach me a little about facing whatever the day would bring. Some days I would simply dip my hands and feet in the water. Other times I would swim when I could tolerate the cold.

The title of the poem is taken from a rumoured quote by Dylan Thomas about his writing process. That is, sometimes we should just “put the girl on the shore” and let the story happen. I wanted to make it a simple poem of couplets that mimics the ebb and flow of the tide.