When the Whales Beached

Niall Campbell

Dear, on that day of spades,
engraving lines and inlets in the sand,

so that we could begin the slow
unmooring of those black shapes to the waves,

it was hard to think of anything
but how soon after my grandmother

had followed her husband earthwards. Love,
and yet so much more than. The quiet

unionship of sometimes being the one
to lead, sometimes to follow. And these

who softly climbed the aching stair
of shore together and there, stalled.

How we stood by as if we’d nothing
to say, when, love, I did, I do.


Niall Campbell is one of the winners of the 2011 Eric Gregory Awards.

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