• The Listener
  • North & South
  • Noted
  • RNZ

Wrack

Today, hung on sand on the tide-line, the odd

string of bedraggled orange flowers skating

pretty close to sentimentality

I think. A corny statement by the sea

this morning, these festival flowers washed

up at night to adorn only the dark

and unfeeling sand, betrayed as unused

by dawn, etcetera. The transience

of life, of significant occasions,

rendered in these cut and rotting flowers,

laid to final rest without ceremony,

etcetera, etcetera, and so on.

It's cloying really, these sea-treated things,

their grace as deconsecrated discards.

I mean flowers have been done to death - come on!

It's pretty hard to fault the canvas, though,

the marvellously understated sand

ironed flat and wet in tones of ground stone,

flecked with white motes of shell and copper grain;

and you'd be a miserable bastard

to fault the size and ambition of the frame.