[This poem was written a month or so ago, when I heard the news that my cousin had terminal cancer and only had weeks to live. It is not ‘about’ her, as such, but it is about the pain and powerlessness of loss. I make no claims to its literary merit, but that’s not really the point. RIP, dear Josie]


Your moorings slipped.

And so, in the dark, you rose

And dipped on the outgoing tide.

Fast and wide, fast and wide,

In the gull-grey light the river raced.

We saw you there, and yes, we chased

Till the wind was our breath and the tears in our eyes

Were the rain and the salt and the seabirds’ cries,

By that shingle-shore of water’s side.

But fast and wide, fast and wide,

In shroud-white haze the river rushed

Past dockyards, factories, funeral-hushed,

And we watched, behind, as you climbed and fell

On the edge of the wind and the salt-sea swell.

Till there it was. The sea’s embrace.

And running up, we turned to face

This vast expanse.

And we were the howl and the sky-rending roar

As the last breath of wind swept you out from the shore

To the sudden still of the silent sea,

And there, in the welcoming waves, you were free.

You left. A small calm point of light,

Then on, and on, and out of sight.





4 Comments to “Homecoming”

  1. Beautiful and heartfelt . It made me cry. My condolences for the loss of your cousin Josie, may she rest in peace with the angels, and my mum.

  2. Thinking of you Elli, and of all your family.

  3. That is beautiful, Elli. xx So sorry about the loss of your cousin.

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