We have moved once to accommodate the tide
on this August strand, crowded with many
who otherwise would have been in the Algarve
or on some island in the Aegean.
At least the sands are free this year of the Christians
whose jocular misanthropy of games
of tug o’ war takes up so much space.
High tide is still nine minutes away,
and the beach here rises just perceptibly –
but ramparts have gone, and a castle keep.
Someone has placed a child’s spade in the sand
guessing where the flow will end, the ebb begin –
or knowing it will be so, for the sea turns
just as it laps against the blue blade.
We are so pleased watching the waves recede,
as if we had outwitted them, outlived them
almost, we do not notice the spade has gone,
its modest owner emulating Canute.
On the horizon, anchored until high tide,
container ships and tankers are moving now
safe to cross the Bar, and sail into the Mersey.
Curious to face the sea as if facing
the future. Though the waters surge and swell
with many metaphors, for the most part
only the inevitable happens –
like the wave, the invisible tsunami,
that will strike these islands’ shores this coming
New Year’s Day. Something the hateful, the greedy,
and the ignorant have willed – for a chimera,
a mere abstraction.