St Stephen’s Day, between Polzeath & Daymer Bay

benched up 

staring at the wrangle rock wrecked sea

[it’s message is confused from the North Americas]

are you perhaps the daughter?

once young now old but nevertheless

the daughter of the woman whose name is on the bench?

It says Mary but I read Joy

for the joy she took at sitting here 

are you the daughter who named the bench 

and was your relationship joy? 

I see the hunched shoulder waiting to be touched 

the bald spot and seabrack skin 

can you not unburden yourself as I stare from behind? 

And do you see the way back waves 

the steady horizon drawn in relief 

are they your relief as they were Joy’s?


perhaps these sensations are foreign born 

perhaps, not understanding the mother 

you might find her here in the gulls 

the ravens crying for attention 

and hanging like a wave about to peak suspended and above? 

I think about coming to you 

I think about approaching your blue jacket to talk about Joy 

but people watch,

holidaymakers expressionless sitting in baying bungalows 

still calm like exhibits in a Jo Hogg film 

as my sister and mother, for example 

giant stride the cliff edges, immersed in themselves 

Was this your relationship with Joy?

you still sit 

I have walked up and down by you many times 

but now I must go and leave you 

You never knew, did you 

how I saw you so often and empathised? 

And your thoughts? 

Who can say

after Kleinzahler and for Mary, whose bench resides on Polzeath cliffs before Greenaway.


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