An exceptionally sunny, cloudless day
has packed Benllech Beach at low water
with hundreds of gaudy strangers. Meanwhile,
the pomp begins and ‘sacrifice’ is talked of
as if the lambs themselves had chosen it.
On the clear horizon, container ships
and oil tankers are hoved to, waiting
for high water so they can safely clear
the Liverpool Bar – a compacted sandbank –
something I have seen many times but
only now recall a great grand father,
retired from sailing ‘coffin ships’ to Boston,
was captain of the Bar lightship. He died
before the century turned so never saw
his oldest son earn his Master’s Ticket
nor learn he had chosen to go down
with his ship, torpedoed off Cape Verde.
As the waters rise the fainthearted leave.
The inexorable ships steer east.
The day will end with Sir Edward Grey’s
metaphor of the lamps made fatuous.