On finding plastic litter on the beach.


A dull day, some would say

I like dull days, the colours muted

The sky soft, the sea grey. At the horizon

They merge, indistinguishable

So a rowing boat seems flying.


The sand is honey-toned, a blue shell,

Crunches under foot. The spring tides

Have been high, I can tell

Because above the shoreline is new litter

Plastic that the sea spews up, retches up.

She cannot eat plastic, cannot digest.

Vomits, and is fed again.


Here in the litter are strange colours

Vivid against the natural world

A child’s hair bobble glows

Like a psychedelic cherry

A baby’s dummy, the shiny ring, big enough

For a fat finger to fling it from the pram.

An upturned sandbox, blue and yellow

A sprayshooter water gun, sprayshot


This tidal wave of plastic, so much of it the remnants

Of homage paid to children. Do they need it?

My mother had just three amusements like these

A china doll, a wooden hoop, a dog.

How much better to care for the sea

As if it were our child, to teach our children how.