southend poetry home page

back issues







Katie Mallett

Islands - Coral to Canvey

We saw them from the aircraft, looking down,
A string of gemstones on a turquoise sea,
Like sequins on a sari, amber brown,
Shot through with gold and green, each waving tree

Alluring as the boughs in Eden's grove,
Lands too perfect for a tourist's print
To mar their glittering skin, a treasure trove
To look on from afar, a distant glint

Like angel dust cast out from heaven's door
To float upon the ocean, to remind
The residents of earth that there is more
To living than pursuing wealth, the grind

For betterment, the toil of every day,
The stresses of ambition and desire,
And changing, as at last we flew away,
Into mere smudges, ashes from a pyre

To hold in memory as British isles
Hove into view, sharp rocky crags lashed round
By steely waves, forbidding granite piles,
Then a familiar shape, flat road-etched ground

Swilled round by mud and flat skinned monochrome,
Weighed down by population and the wheel,
The island that informs us we are home,
Back to life, not heavenly, but real.