Wreckers: Coast of Northhumberland

What they save from the wreck
is indistinct, and the sea on the glistening sand
could just as well be sky. Or rather, three
elements, earth, water, and air, are seen to take

the properties of mist, and so dissolve.
The people themselves, as they haul junk from the waves,
seem a kind of dark, scriptural weed
destined, like the spars they grope for, to revolve

in tides endlessly turned back on themselves.
If they lured the ship, they are towed in turn
through foam by the shapes they save.
The sea lunges in from distant shelves

yawning for plunder, hurls itself at the shore
as bridal spray. A cloud
gapes its vast jaw over the ship
foundering on the horizon. Nothing more

can be saved from this scene. It is all
already lost, no sooner seen
than shrouded, the lucid brush
mingling, like the vague wreckers, possession and memorial.

Rosanna Warren

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