Bet McCallum: Two poems

Somewhere else

Two grave markers for ships,
Saxon towers stand dark on the cliffs.
You say … ‘erosion brings the sea to their edge’
or something. I don’t hear.
The wind’s in my ear hissing ssh, breath, flesh, kiss.
You point out tunnels left by molluscs,
a line of bivalve fossils,
slipper limpets and other clinging creatures.
I miss the detail.
Graffiti on pale sand says Stay with me forever.
You read aloud the caution:
Cliffs may collapse without warning
‘It’s eminently possible,’ you tell me.
I’m drifting out of earshot.
Something or someone is waiting in the water.


He’d mentioned it more than once:
he’d hate to be underground mouldering and trapped,
he’d rather fly and drift above the river and maybe reach and speckle Perth
and maybe some of him in Fife.

And so, at eight o’clock one Sunday morning,
I took the urn down to the shoreline
and sent what there was of him over the water
in clouds of pale dust.

And some flew far… already on his way…
and some dropped gently to float more slowly
and, unpredicted
three small children loomed – asked if I was feeding Oystercatchers

and in that moment
I just said ‘Yes’.

Copyright © Bet McCallum 2017

Bet McCallum lives in Broughty Ferry. Her work has appeared in Dundee Writes,
New Writing Dundee, Gutter and the Dundee poetry anthology, Seagate III.


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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