Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Another Day of the Dead poem: All Soul's Day



It’s been around ten years since I wrote the poem below, on the second day of Allhallowtide, All Soul's Day (in Europe) or the second Day of the Dead (Americas), while living on the Gower peninsula in Wales.

I had recently just arrived back from a funeral in the US and was spending quite a bit of time walking on the beach.

It was always deserted, sand blowing across the vast beach when the tide was out. 

Sometimes we’d see the occasional cow near the path that opened out onto the sand, but that was about it.


Day of the Dead, Gower


                                A white egret

         banks against the wind.

                          Sand flies.

       Bottle of whiskey as offering, we wait

            for a word


          Start with a stone,

                                fallen from a wall


                No, start

 with the imprint of fish bones in that stone


                            Better yet,

   start with the death of the fish, sinking


          No, no, you have to go further back,

    to the beginning, the face

                                      beneath the face...


              The puzzle of the dead, 

                                               this poem


            Wild horses eat dune grass

              (matted tails, salted bones).


             We watch a grey mother,

                                 her brown foal.


          They stop grazing, stare back.


                                                    Whitford Beach, Gower, Wales


(Poem previously published in "All the Beautiful Dead along the Side of the Road")



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