This poem was written in Whitby on a writing week with Ann and Peter Sansom. It was my first-ever visit to Whitby and I found it an inspiring place. The poem was awarded 2nd place in the 2017 Waltraud Field competition, organised by Crewe District Writers’ Circle. It was later published in my second collection Nothing serious, nothing dangerous. The picture was taken by poet friend Maurice Franceschi.
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.