I saw a rainbow that wasn’t there,
water vapour dusting the air.
The greying clouds swallowed up the sky
dampened our breath and the glint in your eye.
Children’s voices from across the sea
long time travelling, they come to me
with bruises and sores and legs like lead
they need my broad lap to lay down their heads.
And I will sing back to them, telling a tale
of weather-beaten ships with no wind in the sail.
The salt of our tears will dry as white rocks
melted down by the horses’ white socks.
The air becomes darker, the earth moves away
from the sun that’s been hidden from the natural sway
of the trees in the hills and the wind in our hair.
I want to believe that the rainbow was there.
And now it is night-time, I absorb all their chills,
shivering ripples that dampen their wills.
A teasing scrap of grey flapping cloth
a broken flag to wave sailors off,
it wraps itself wide around the wind
and blames us all for having sinned.
Our hollowed sandy pit is too cold,
I want to say sorry, I just cannot hold
their picture of pity or pain any more:
I’m always the one left standing on shore
unable to return to the depths of the sea.
I unclasp their fingers so they can be free.
‘Careful of pebbles on your bare feet,’
the smoothness I kiss whenever we meet.
I know they’re so precious, and delicate too,
that’s why I can’t live having only you.
I cannot believe in rainbows alone,
The children breathe wishes I want to own.
That’s why I stay here and gaze so far out,
I don’t need your envy or pitiful shout.
The fingers of sunrise stretch open the sky
like the womb that gapes in a final cry,
but my children aren’t brought forth from this,
their pale deathly voices I have learnt not to miss.
But I won’t let you make me accept this fate,
your sympathy clutches my arm far too late.
The trickle of sand that falls from my skin
tickles like pins and I smile from within.
I no longer laugh at the desperate birds
they drown out the voices and rob me of words.
I don’t always hear what the songs want to say
and your footsteps behind me that go on all day
prevent me from answering my sweet abandoned
flock of young angels, their absence condoned
by your stubborn protest planted on land
safe from the waves and the wind and the sand.
The hunger that rots me from under my bones
will only be nourished by seaweed and stones.
I ask to belong to their world once again:
when will they reach for me? Please tell me when.
The sky seems to flicker, bright white to black,
with each new transition there’s no turning back.
I can only look forwards, a future long gone,
and beg for a time when I’ll know we are one.