The Noise of the Tide Brings Silence

Grandad says it every time we’re strapped
in the back of his immaculate car:

‘This’ll blow away t’cobwebs,’ From the shore
the wind cleaves us clean; sisters bickering.

The itch of a Mum-made sweater, wrapped
up against the cold. Warmth is a far...

About the poem

This poem appeared in The Rialto, issue 82.

This poem is special to me for a number of reasons; it is my first publication and also about my maternal grandparents. The poem grew out of a writing workshop I attended run by an incredible teacher, Brian Evans-Jones on the theme of water. An exercise was set to write about the sea and as the rest of the class set about writing some beautiful work about distant shores, beach-set idylls and the pull of the tide, for some reason the idea that came into my head was of the walks I used to take with my Grandparents - born in Cheshire and transplanted to the New Forest in retirement to be closer to their Grandchildren - in winter. I've always loved the beach in winter and I think perhaps it comes from these moments from childhood. This poem allowed me to pay tribute both to the life-affirming sensation of being buffeted by the coast on a cold day and my wonderful Grandparents, who were always kind, supportive and most of all, most resolutely themselves. I lost them both when I was a teenager, but writing this poem reminded me that they are always with me.