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The water washed your name
  away from the sand; nothing holds:
Look at this changing, each day
wears a fresh smell, carrying

Old odours with it. We continue
  despite the rise and fall of the sea.
Its lace wiping the slate an imaginary
  clean.  Footprint it, there 

Again we have carved in
  the old weakness, the old pain
On the new sheen. The sands
  pull, pull underfoot back to the sea

Obeying their own deep order.
  While you, rise, gull sharp in my mind;
The shell lies perfectly empty.
  The waves pound and pound.

© Anne Le Marquand Hartigan

Illustration from the cover of Long Tongue by Anne Hartigan

Long Tongue
Anne Le Marquand Hartigan.
Beaver Row Press, Dublin.

To read the Introduction by Brendan Kennelly Click Here


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