Whitby Scenes – Fokkina McDonnell


It’s the first time he has captured me walking on water

and I’m in the centre of this black-and-white photograph.

In this picture I’m nearest to you, whoever you are,

or want to be and whatever will become of you,

but you are looking beyond me at other people

on the beach, the dead relatives in their graves.

You and I can hear children on the beach laughing,

the distant sound of the waves, the yellow tug

chugging to take others on their whale-watching trip.

You cannot see my offspring, they’ve separated

from me, they are their own gull now, as they land

on the head of the statue, or swoop through

the whalebone arch, staring you out for fish.

We’ll still be here when the visitors leave,

our insistent way of being, our shrieks on the wing

reminding you of the sea when you’re safely back home.

Fokkina McDonnell’s…

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