Because he had expected to be dead
we knew he wouldn't be here for today's
pilgrimage. Three generations leading
to St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay,
this beach. Threads each in their separate ways
woven with this landscape. The East
wind shouting out its 'Happy Birthdays'
for the eighty fifth he didn't see
still shared with European victory
when at the going down of the sun
and in the morning we
remember him and the young
men lying in their tidy graves with
the last post sounding across airwaves.
Susannah Pickering has now lived in Newcastle for seven years in total having been drawn back to the city and its coast in 2004 after 14 years away.
This poem is in many ways born of that returning and the connections between people, time and place. It has a particular resonance with the recent remembrance events.
Follow the link for a list of other Poems of the Month.
Whitley Bay © 2008 by Susannah Pickering: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.