WASHED FROM THE IRISH SEA

A Guinness spume creams the tide-line,
edging the beach with wrack, razor-shells,
the whiteness of broken crabs.

From the donkey man Jenny breaks free,
canters the beach, homes to me
nuzzles my hand for sweets.

I pat her chops,
rub the bone between her eyes,
make to lead her back.

Stubbornly she pulls,
locks herself in sand,
brays defiance.

I leave her
as she kicks like ‘Buckaroo’.
The donkey man takes another fare,

Ignores worried beachcombers,
ignores me, splashing through wet sand
to the sea’s edge.

Later, the tide swelling round the stanchions of pier legs
a jellyfish, big as a dustbin,
surfaces, turns, pulses back to the depth.

Lancaster Lit-Fest 2002