Footprints in the sand
Who is it walking with us?
The waves wash away
copyright Francis Barker 2020
“We are the sun,” you said,
that his light arose with us
playing on rainbows,
his myriad smiles the spangled waves.
In those days thoughts were endless,
vibrant pages which turned by themselves.
There were no limits to how far we’d run
or dream out onto the sea,
our hearts living free in a peerless sky.
But thoughts like books do have an end
and I have died a billion times,
holding on to every word you said,
like a child might ask a question
between the pages of his lives
poem and image © copyright Francis Barker 2012 & 2020
Is there a point where the tide
a moment that I could see, or touch?
I’ve been looking
at tables giving times, exact
minutes of apogee, and it was
just here I’m sure,
where I pointed
and saw nothing, except
the foam stretch ahead of me
like phantom silk, all
along the buff triassic sand, as far
as I could see or walk.
“That’s where the waves
stop,” you said, “where the tide
turns back to the sea – and me.”
image and poem © copyright David F. Barker
It wasn’t at Jarrow where I sensed you
but on Bamburgh’s raging shore,
among the seaweed and razor shells
on gull peppered sands,
its castle brooding behind me
like a huge chiseled tomb.
North waves were scrambling,
spilling memories of guttural voices
disguised in flushing sound;
cries of songs, harps and old tales lost,
fragments I could almost hear
when I turned my head into the wind.
And who was the black figure
bent against the breeze,
absorbing sharp light
on that blinding beach?
I struggled through the dunes,
the little islands of sparse grass
and pygmy flowers —
but you were gone,
extant only in memory,
my boundless imagination,
and in your books
which carry me through centuries
on a primal wave,
each time I read your words
Poem and image © copyright df barker 2012