This poem first appeared in Appletree Writers’ In On The Tide

All profits go to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution

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In the night North Sea

we catch treats for beauties asleep

under flash Orion’s Belt

and Mars fuming red.


In the great mother’s paddle-pool

we net her fish, as we’re tugged and torn

between anchoring homes

and breath-pinching horizons.


Some of our tales are even true.

Here at the end of the world

there are mergirls drunk on rocks

and ship-hungry beasts.


Then there are the dry-land lovelies

snoozing in upper rooms, their tousled hair

tumbling over eiderdowns,

warm limbs and parted lips.


But we mustn’t look homewards

all the time, it’s pure backspeirin.

All we’ll catch is spray in our eyes.

Whether we’re wrapped


in soft-shawled arms or rocked

in this vast bobbing cradle,

the great mother soothing us

with the hushabye of her waves,


we mustn’t look homewards.

All we’ll catch is salt-crusted lashes

and glances black with omens.

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