Seán Haldane

Cousins Shore

Bury me by Cousins Shore
In sand my head to cover
When I will be no more
And loose my soul to hover
(If I have one) and face
As dead chiefs used to do
(I a dead thing) the North,
The sapphire Gulf where terns
Plummet and plash, whose spray
Will sweep my ghostly vapour
Across the marram grass,
Dunes, poison ivy, roses,
Ditches hemmed with Queen Anne’s lace,
To settle, baneful dew,
On fields of carnal clover —
Unless my soul, alone,
Undrownable in eyes
For which my flesh once died,
Will live as death, a sense
(No, Donne, death never dies)
Of something frightening
To couples under blankets
For skin-warmth snuggling,
The sand between their toes,
Pink sand of Cousins Shore
That oh how pleasantly
Has cleaned my flesh from bone
The couples may discover:
At dusk it gleams sepulchral
But will in time like shell
Be sand, long lost my voice,
The fleeping of a plover
Swerving quickly to skim
The waves around my head
Bobbing as alone I swim
Here in the sea, rejoice
That I am not yet dead.

Seán Haldane lived in PEI from 1987-1990. This poem is from Always Two, Collected Poems 1966-2009, Greenwich Exchange Publishers, London, UK

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