Tidal by R. S. Thomas

The waves run up the shore
and fall back. I run
up the approaches of God
and fall back. The breakers return
reaching a little further,
gnawing away at the main land.
They have done this thousands
of years, exposing little by little
the rock under the soil’s face.
I must imitate them only
in my return to the assault,
not in their violence. Dashing
my prayers at him will achieve
little other than the exposure
of the rock under his surface.
My returns must be made
on my knees. Let despair be known
as my ebb-tide; but let prayer
have its springs, too, brimming,
disarming him; discovering somewhere
among his fissures deposits of mercy
where trust may take root and grow.

by R. S. Thomas
from Mass for Hard Times (1992)

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Our Lodgers by Caril Krane

We had lodgers at our house, we did,
John and George and Mick and Sid.
John was old with balding head
Pleased he’d managed not to wed.
Like to sit on the old sea wall,
Got so drunk once he had a fall.
They fished him out and he did say,
Not a drop I’ll touch from this day.
George as a lad went to sea,
On a training ship, so it be.
On a training ship, so it be.
Stole a pair of boots when he was eight.
That was the punishment at that date.
Mick was Irish like his name,
Singing in the pubs was his fame.
Courted a girl who went into the church,
Became a Nun, he was left in the lurch.
Last but not least we come to Sid,
Always caused trouble, was what he did,
The Police would be ’round knocking the door,
As Grannie would pick him up from the floor.
You’re not staying here any more, she would say
‘I’ll be glad when they come to take you away.’

They died of course, one by one
For Mick a wake was good fun,
George in a sack went to sea,
John said a whiskey case for me.
Sid the worst was the last
Fighting to the end as was his past.
Of course Grannie outlived them all
They were happy times I do recall.

By Caril Krane
(1992)

Another Diet by Helen Hough

The more I think about losing weight,
The more I pile upon my plate.
The more I look in the mirror and see,
The more depressed I get about me.
I’ve tried all the diet’s that you can name,
It’s just that I hate the starvation pain.
I wish I had the will-power to fight,
Instead of eating night after night.
I’d like to lose quite a few stone,
Start to exercise and begin to tone,
I’d like to have the perfect figure,
Instead of feeling bigger and bigger.
they tell us to eat smaller quantities.
instead of a hoard.
But I know I eat because I’m bored.
I’m going to try and try again
It’s just that I hate the starvation pain.

.

By Helen Hough

(1992)

Ground Frost by Suzanne Iappu

The last leaves
Defiant in their rigor mortis.

Slow trickle of the sinus,
Flinty intake

And yew hedges iced with it.

The stare of the farmer’s wife
As the young girl behind the till
Hands back the wrong change.

.

by Suzanne Iuppa
(1992)

New Year by Alan Dickson

The year is ending
As it always ends
Rejoice and forget your sins;
The rain is falling
As it always falls,
And the sea comes rolling in.

The sun is rising
As it always rises.
Unfold the new year plan;
The wind is blowing
As it always blows
Fresh hope from man to man.

by Alan Dickson

(1992)