Jo Colley

Cold Grey Sea

Prompted by Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Break, Break, Break

We looked for seaglass on a beach I did not know
in light I could not recognise. My heart revolved
inside my ribs, a cold carcase on a butcher’s hook.

Eyes down, I cased the pebbles, while you
kept silent, your switchblade tongue
slid back inside your mouth.

Alone together, we detectorised the stones,
gathered what we could: aquamarine tears,
opaque crumbs, mere fragments. Not enough

to penetrate this complicated fog. I took off
my shoes, immersed my feet in the north sea.
The waves tried to breach the wall my head

was making, to undo with water what was built
with words. How I would that my tongue could utter
the thoughts that arise in me.

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future. Ray Bradbury, science fiction writer