An epic-style poem of the sea, the shore, a wreck and what is left, and how a choice can affect so many.

Image Credit: 
Wijnand Nuijen / Public Domain

Listen now to her sound.
The bough ploughs down
dragging shells through shale,
barnacles falling like hail.
Waves pound as the boat runs aground,
falling afoul of her whispering aloud.
She, the tempting wind in the sail,
the clear horizon, the guiding whale
that glides so peacefully alongside.
The rocks take hold and we’re lost to the tide.


Sights cast to sea, nothing is seen
but water surrounding our scene.
No sign where ocean meets the skies;
blue on blue and green to our eyes.
No one, nowhere, nothing, gone;
we’re somewhere we should not belong.


Quartermaster speaks of the past
and separated crews hold fast,
counting votes from the ballot cast:
search to return or stay and outlast,
the Devil’s decision where both contrast.
A choice where truth can be surpassed;
judgement torn in groups amassed,
knuckles tight unto the last.
The captain watches all, aghast;
the verdict passed to burn the mast.


Courting lies,
nothing new,
teeth in sand.


Wood splits, the fire crackles old;
the ageing flames slip free and die.
The fallen sun leaves us cold
under an ocean of white-dot firefly
embers glowing, barely alight,
but soot and smoke still lingers
as whipping rain descends with night;
scything flesh from our fingers.
No shelter for us to claim
after burning our only Ark,
so we hide in the twisted frame
of blackened bones in the dark.


Isolated, won bittersweet
and outdated; food our defeat.
Agitated on an empty street,
populated by walking meat.
We debated who we’d unseat,
amputated the captain’s feet.
Designated incomplete;
mutilated so we could eat.


Raising prices,
sinking land;
open secret,
sleight of hand.


Pale shadows wander tall,
skin bleached by the sun;
waves lapping where we fall.
Faded and empty, we shun
the words that failed us all.
Our senses become undone.


The black clouds above swirl high;
the land storms as jaws open below
and breathe in we few left alive,
bodies thin on meat and marrow.
Kicking dust, we fall into the pit;
arching doom closing overhead.
Souls dissolved in blood can’t commit
to an unforgiving God; we are the dead.
A beast of teeth and eyes awaits,
the Morning Star, or so we’re told,
to drag us, shipwrecked, through the gates
and shackle what’s left of us to the hole.
The others, gone but still in our teeth,
the teeth that ground their very bones,
are there, are here, with us, beneath.
With us, but we are all alone.


The rocks take hold and we’re lost to the tide
that glides so peacefully; alongside
the clear horizon, the guiding whale.
She, the tempting wind in the sail.
Falling afoul of her, whispering aloud,
waves pound as the boat runs aground.
Barnacles falling like hail,
dragging shells through shale,
the bough ploughs down.
Listen now to her sound.

Seb Reilly is a writer, fiction author and occasional musician. He lives by the sea in Thanet, Kent, with his family and two cats.

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