I know it has stopped raining outside
and the sun has come back around
The day is warming and bright
But please stay on solid ground

There are pools of water
So dark and so deep
that if you try to jump in
They will rise well over your feet

You will feel yourself gripped
Like vices upon your feet
And it will be only moments
Before you are pulled underneath

I walked once with a friend
Between puddles besides a stream
She laughed as she leapt
And in a moment began to scream

I remember that frozen second
Thinking of how to save her
but all I could do was watch
As the hands pulled her underwater

I cannot forget her calling for help
In the moment before she was swallowed
I see her now in every pool
But now she calls for me to follow.


I watched the man walk out of the surf
stepping smoothly onto land
I sat atop a rock and watched
as he gracefully offered me his hand

He told me his name
Which I had heard before
A man who had lived in this town
Until he did not return to shore

His face did not match my memory
Smooth, serene and surreal
I stared at his youth and beauty
as he explained his deal

He had found himself drowning
A great wave had stolen his breath
And pulled beneath the waves
He had felt the grip of death

He was offered a task
From the darkness swelling below
Drown one hundred others
And the sea would let him go

He never granted mercy
for each expired life
dragged to the waiting darkness
Led him closer to his child and wife

The last sacrifice, he described
Had not taken a step from the shore
Sat on a rock, her feet in lapping waves
Staring out into a rising storm

He had met her in a sudden wave
The old woman fighting lamely
He happily pulled her to the darkness
and left her to finally see his family

His story finished, the man smiled
I had remained silent for it all
He asked where he might find his wife
And his lad, who should be three or four

My reply was swift.
Though meant for another purpose
The knife served me well
and between his ribs it took purchase

I let him fall to the ground
I watched him recognise his error
And as the waves dragged him back
I saw a face awash in grief and terror.

I left the rock where I had sat
As my mother had before
Hoping for her husband’s return
when he did not return to shore.

Down to the Shore

Please go to sleep, dear child
Do not go down to the shore
We have locked the doors and windows
But so have parents before

Do not leave your bed, little one
Where you are safe and warm
I know that you hear the song
Calling you into the rising storm

I have heard what calls you there
I remember my childhood thrall
A voice that spoke over my dreams
Until I awoke only feet from the shore

We both miss childhood friends
Who walked into the dark swell
They will not return to us
Where they went, the sea will not tell

We are both so tired, my child
I cannot keep you safe with me
But if I wake and find you gone,
I will follow your footprints into the sea.


It was very trying
He thought, compressed
To be trapped lying
In a crate perhaps five feet abreast

It was awfully cold,
He thought, making do
the padding was old
and smelled strongly of mildew

It must be quite a gale,
He thought, feeling queasy
It was better than gaol,
though the swaying made him uneasy

It was annoying, however,
To have nothing to do
He had a letter from his lover
But she was not there to screw

She had convinced him
To get rid of his wife
While the task had been grim
His desire was worth more than her life

He had taken her sailing
An outing she would often demand
And to reward her failings
He made sure she did not return to land

It should have been straightforward
To restart life as a widower
But he was soon cornered
And he made a deal with a ship owner

It had cost him dearly
To ship him away
More than he made yearly
But worth it to finally escape

The storm was growing worse
He thought, his calm beginning to fail him
As he pressed upwards, he began to curse
The idiots had put real nails in

It was more than damp now,
He realised as he heard splashing
Then the grinding of the ship’s bow
And he knew they were crashing

He clawed and he hammered
But he was already entombed 
And no matter how loud he clamoured 
There was simply nothing to do

He now heard words he had tried to ignore
Which his wife had spoken, before the screams
"This is all I have ever wished for, 
For you and I to take a trip to the sea!"