“Come on boy!” I shout out, as rubber soles pick out a steady rhythm
Weather hardened paws pattering beside, sleek black fur flowing
Six legs churning, muscles warming, one more run on a familiar road.
As we pound down the hill, over old loose tarmac that crunches and cracks
Past a pretty smile that sparks instant fantasies,
In a mind that knows they so rarely come close to reality.
My mind wanders easily, drawn up by eyes that can never stop roaming
Taking in a pale sky, blue outshone by waves of slowly undulating cloud
Burnished a bright metallic pink, the last gift of the sun before it slips
Further round to light someone else’s dawn a thousand miles away.
Over a road, we slide between cars but give them no thought
As then the first sight is caught, of water and rocks, a leap and then
Smooth asphalt gives way to gritty sand, damp and clinging,
Constantly shifting, toes digging in, thousands of pebbles shifting and scraping.
Metal blaring into ears, spiking adrenaline, I see myself a superhero
Sizing up walls, I launch myself up one, fingers scrabbling for the lip
Muscles now hot as I pull myself with ungainly precision to the top.
We follow the sand, past dog walkers and phone talkers
The former giving indulgent grins, the latter turning as if we’d listen in,
The tide has sunk, uncovering as with an archaeologists brush
A cliff base of cracked and tumbled rocks, salty pools
Waiting for the patient return to the great blue
I launch myself up and over, left and right, as Dash weaves below
We two intrepid explorers of this newly revealed land
(Though rediscovered every twelve hours)
We revel in our earthly powers, laughing and barking, leaping and bounding
Clear, and now over lonely sands pounding.
Ness beach, round the headland, a sanctuary unbroken by sound
Other than endless channel waves, pushing and sloshing day after day
We two boys race along, claiming each inch for as long as we can
For as long as there’s no other souls to be seen
Nothing but sky, cliff, sand and sea.
We pull to a halt, heels and claws digging sodden grooves
Soon to be wiped out by the sea’s encroaching moves.
I turn out to sea, and stop.
The white lumps of plastic fall from my ears
Suddenly the waves are all that I hear
Waves below, while up above the still pink clouds surge
Out to sea, away from me, rolling on endlessly
Perhaps to rain on another land, another sea
I open myself to unearthly beauty.
No, that’s not right. This is as earthly as it gets
This is earth, the best it has, the pink waves of cloud
Mirroring the waves, still so very loud
The feel of wet and grit between my fingers
As I stop and stretch and linger
The claws that constantly clutch at my chest as I struggle through life
Ease and lift, and all that I now wish is for someone to share
Someone to show this incredible moment
When dusk lights everything, and all humanity
All our thunderous machines and blocky unlovely structures
Are hidden from sight. Just someone to share
To know I’m not the only one in the world to feel this
Sudden filling up of an unrealised emptiness.
But I do have Dash. His whines break the reverie
As my valiant companion, with brave effort attempts
To lift in his jaw a rock the size of his head.
I can’t help but grin as he gives up and pads over, ready to run.
Run we shall, back along the sand, past another pretty face
Another smile, answered but no doubt forgotten as soon as the first
Back over rocks, rubber squeaking slightly in its gallant efforts
To grip to sea-sodden stone, soon to be reclaimed
By the endless grey that I can see is now rising.
Back past the headland, back to civilisation, where with a pang I notice
Countless pinpricks of yellow over the river, our own artificial galaxy
Shining hard light onto harder surfaces.
The pink is gone, the few clouds now slowly drifting over
Steadily deepening swathes of sky fail to glow, just float, dull and grey.
I ponder and we patter back up the tarmac hill,
It’s damp pimpled surface, faintly shining a harsh yellow under streetlights,
The momentary wonder, that only existed for me, and only for a minute.
There will, no doubt, be other pink skies, other rolling waves of cloud,
Other lonely beaches, with waves crashing loud,
Even other lonely boys, wishing to share that moment
With someone other than a sea-soaked dog
But this one will never come again
And will only live in memory
Which too will someday fade to black.
But maybe. Just maybe. These words will survive.
To tell of a moment that was somehow extraordinary.
A sweaty run on a damp beach as dusk fell.
The right place at the right time, to see something beautiful.
Written sometime in 2015, this is by far my personal favourite of my own poetry, and therefore seemed the best thing to put forward as my first post on a new site.
It was such a beautiful evening, the words started coming even as I was running home. Desperate to get it written down, I threw myself onto my laptop and, still soaked with sweat and sea spray, ferociously tapped the above out in about an hour.
If only inspiration like that could come along a bit more often