At Land’s End



At Land’s End


We walk along beside the dunes

Feeling the salted air

Blow the taste of the sea through our hair

Later our salt scented skin

Will remind us


Finding a spot where the sand is dry and soft

Making this our journey’s end

A fine place

Away from unnatural sound

Leaving behind our false life

A chance to feel quiet

And connect with the world


Lying down the sand welcomes me

Surrendering it’s wind sculpted perfection

Yielding to my comfort

The earth’s heat rises up to meet me

As I find my depth


The hot sun does battle with the breeze on my skin

Back and forth they surge

And today thankfully

The sun tastes a small victory

So my body lays in perfect harmony

With the elements.


Hear the ocean keeping time

Like our mother’s heartbeat

The sound is good company

It settles a vexed mind

Can I listen to your song

And for this time

Leave the crusade behind.


Lying with chin on hands

This peace empties the clutter from my senses

The blustering sea breeze

Brings the the sound of a dog’s excited panting

Passing in an out of audible range

Like an old steam train

Heard, yet still beyond the horizon


Fingers force their way beneath the arid surface

Into the cooler damper layers below

And I raise my hand slowly up

To watch the sands fall through my fingers

Again and again

Hypnotic flows of liquid dust

The finest of them carried off on the air


In calm contemplation I see so much more

This beach of one colour becomes alive

In my hands are a thousand different colours

Now bright and vivid to me

Each grain a fragment

A trillion trillion pieces

Of a billion billion shells

Of creatures long since passed into history

But not forgotten

As the sun sparkles on the tiny pieces

Reflecting the memories of those lives

That made the land on which I lay


But it is not dead protest the grasses

Waving frantically from the dunes for my attention

Birds nesting in the scrub join in the debate

And I listen intently as they try to convince me

Until our conversation is interrupted

By a frenetic chorus of Ivory gulls

On a newly revealed sandbank

Feasting on the sandworms

Who lost the race to safety with the retreating tide

Others form a melee of swirling white

Above a pool left behind by the sea

Circling and hovering with beautiful grace

Yet as they dive their deathly shadow is the last thing seen

By the fish marooned in the shallows


So there is death here, but there is more life

They co-exist for a reason

We live, we pass on, then we give back

For others to play their part in this production

Forever recycling death back into life

I accept the lesson and my part in it


©Copyrighted by Colin Ryan (2010)


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