On a shingle beach – by Helen Freeman


Here’s a little bullet, dark as a bruise
and here’s a white one almost edible
like a Tree Swallow’s egg.

This one’s a translucent heart, cold as snow
and tender too. Above the water-mark
I find lichen clinging

to a flat one. I stoop to finger off
the snags and skim it into the water.
It pirouettes across

centre stage, then curtseys and disappears.
Applause ripples round in circles. Here’s one
so sharp it could fly out

of a sling and embed in some giant
skull. This one’s scabrous so I throw it back
and here’s a scarred one, cleft

by some dreadful rip-tide. Ah, more keepers:
ringed in cat-like shades of grey, pin-striped, smart
enough to hoard missives

on the Queen’s desk; varicose-veined with streaks
of quartz, all angle, layer and secret
depth, crying out to stack

and balance, to adorn a sacred spot,
to perch between the claws of a stone sphinx
or Mandela’s carved head.

This little yellow one stands for rubbing
shoulders, it’s so smooth I want to hold it
forever, and this one

has an ancient voice as if it’s sitting
under a Bonsai soul-searching. It drops
into the sea, puts on

a silk waistcoat and a dragonfly suit
as water numbs my toes and I must go,
my pockets cobbled full.




Helen Freeman loves reading and writing poems and has been published in several online sites such as Ink, Sweat and Tears, Clear Poetry, Algebra of Owls, Corbel Stone Press, Sukoon, Open Mouse and Ground Poetry. She lives in two polar opposite cities – Riyadh and Edinburgh.

2 thoughts on “On a shingle beach – by Helen Freeman

  1. Pingback: On a Shingle Beach – Chemchemi

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