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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.




© Copyright David Selzer

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