Along the path beside the forestry road,
through the plantation of pine and larch
planted as saplings to keep the dunes in check,
there is a first sighting of the island
with its mediaeval saint’s ruined chapel,
between the trees and across a sandy beach.
Out of sight is a pebbly strand exposed
except at the highest tides: an impromptu
causeway – for holiday makers now;
once, for lovers to the chapel with its
rumours of martyred blessings; and, once,
for soldiers, manning the concrete pill-box,
out of sight at the island’s seaward end
above the cove of beached razor shells.
No invaders came to fill those years of tides –
except cormorants to breed on rocks
below the redoubt, and odd, nameless couples
across the mainland’s sand hills and scurvy grass,
over the slip trench and through the barbed wire
like soldierly pilgrims.