(for my father)
Our footprints, the tracks of our play,
going all ways, ran deep along the shore.
All our lives we laughed along that stretch,
we laughed at simple games, splashing
through pools of silver, across sands of
burnished gold. We laughed against the sky
and you listened to young voices,
spellbound, time out of mind.
That day, the wind whipped the waves,
the swell surged, we were beaten
by torrents, caught in the rising storm,
the crash, deafening.
We floundered, soaked to the bone.
The light was cold, so very cold
and we shouted as we saw you,
separate, tides encircling,
gazing out in silence.
We saw your still, bowed head,
as if in prayer. The rip took your feet,
and you were taken, consumed,
the falling man.
We took your arms, hands,
searched in eyes of ages blue,
taking that curve of jaw, seeing your soul
as a burning ship and still your head was bowed.
As the tide slipped, you were white, so white,
kissed by time’s silent lips.
No cry, nor whisper, a cross shape near
crested roar and the people you love
carry you from the shore
BIO: Matthew M C Smith is a Welsh poet from Swansea. He has been published in Poetry Northern Ireland’s Panning for Poems and The Seventh Quarry and won the RS Thomas Prize for Poetry at the Gwyl Cybi festival in 2018. He particularly enjoys writing nature, cosmic and mythic poetry and has written much of it in the wake of his father’s death. Matthew is the editor for Black Bough Poetry. He tweets at @MatthewMCSmith and @blackboughpoems The Black Bough website is at www.blackboughpoetry.com
Photo of Michael CAF Smith (Matthew’s father) 1948-2012