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Guernsey Literary Festival

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Guernsey Arts

Judy Mantle, Jersey

2nd prize: Channel Islands’ Poetry
Poems on the Move & Poems on the Buses Exhibitions

This is the beach where I grew up, learnt to swim
nearly drowned, watched my nut-brown father
home on leave, walk on his hands
along the water's edge, his path traced
by wet indentations in the sand.

That granite crag, our Peak in Darien
I recognise each handhold, plateau, cleft
but where my small foot found a perfect fit
there is no space for feet the size of mine.

Grandchildren search for shells and fish for shrimps
in pools which seemed so bottomless to me
I close my eyes and shrink to share their view
feel seaweed fronds wrap round my heels
to peel back all the years from then to now.