Summer Sand



( multum in parvo )


My hand thrust deep into the sand
held there to enjoy the warmth
then slowly
cupped fingers
rose to the surface

Captured universes
Stellar galaxies
emerging into the salty air
The slightest shift
in Creation’s framework
to my design


And as I straightened
to a flat palm
And then gently spread
those same fingers
The sand
to return to its kind
Just a residue
of grains
still adhering
to my warmth


however small
I had disturbed the Earth
Re-designed The natural world
Left my mark on creation
Forever in its debt



[  © WHB . . . With my grateful thanks to Canadian artist, Alma Kerr,
for the inspiration and the original photographs ]

Hope In The Sea


‘Ebb Tide’ … WHB  2017 ©



The promise of the sea
As it thrusts towards the shore
Is of resurgent love
And with it
the swell in my heart soars
Its tide in turn repeating
What once I had before
When life was young
And in its flow

Now as it ebbs
It is not easy
To renew that glow
Which once provided
all the hope
Of future bliss I ever needed
When sun kissed seas
Spoke loud their passion
Their cresting waves
Breaking one on one
In repeating fashion
Mirroring my wishes
Releasing desires
Bringing the froth and foam
Of hope
To these cool shores

Ribbed sand now reminds
Of what is yet to come
The ripples of my heartbeat
Become the breakers
bolstering my breath 
The thrill of expectation
Arriving with the tide

On what distant shores
have those same waves
Broken their strength
And torn in two
My harried heart



The Red Chesters



“Shall I collect the red chesters?”,
The caretaker said to me.
He’d said it so often I didn’t demur;
I grimaced and just let it be.

For him to take care of a school,
That was a daily trial.
He’d disappear for hours on end;
Complaints just met with denial.

‘Thruppence short of half a crown’,
Was how we described him then;
But that was being so unkind
To a minnow amongst men.

He shuffled around from place to place
Carrying brush and pan,
Picking up what others dropped,
Doing it because he can.

When needed to open a stockroom door
He went to find the key.
Two hours later he appeared
To set the prisoner free.

He stoked the boiler from time to time
To keep the heating on,
But never remembered to turn it off
When wintertime had gone.

He swept the playground with a broom
The way he’d always done.
You couldn’t see the difference
From when he had begun.

Cleaning out the long jump pit
Was just a task too far.
He couldn’t tell a pile of sand
From half a ton of tar.

And as for adding up I found,
He wasn’t the wisest of men.
When asked to count milk bottles up
He could never get past ten.

I asked him once how many chairs
He’d set out in the hall.
He told me, about ten rows, plus two,
He’d put against the wall.

And as for cleaning out latrines,
He didn’t find that easy.
He couldn’t wash a basin out
Without him feeling queasy.

So why, you ask, did I appoint him,
Choose him before another?
Sorry, but I do admit,
He was my dearest brother.




N.B.  ‘Red Chesters’ is the way some people mispronounce the word ‘Registers’, which are the daily attendance records maintained in each class of UK schools.



To Heal the Hurt



Was late

After  nine

Walking slowly

Along the seashore

With only one purpose

Looking for his sand imprints

The staunch assurance in his stride

Resolution  taut as pre-stressed steel

Hoping against hope she’d find him weeping


The above ten line story was prompted by Davy D’s excellent ETHEREE,  ‘Laptop Love’, posted on 8th November.  He has introduced me to a poetic form of which I was scarcely aware.  I do know that the etheree can take a variety of different forms, but for this, my first attempt, I have kept things simple – if that is the correct word for a rather tricky exercise. 

The photograph was taken by me earlier this month on the North Sea coast of Yorkshire.


Traces In Time


Footprints traced the story

recorded all 

barefoot prints

a pathway

across the foreshore

lit by the glistening dying sun

hovering above the reticent waves

imprints liberating their story

embellishing the exposé

their secret

not wishing perhaps

to be divulged


separate paths

traced hesitantly


from different directions

but with one intention

one goal

until the climax

the revelatory moment


there they still were

hers,  petite, 

heels up as though


to meet lips above her head

his,  facing hers,

flat-soled, akimbo,

as though pulling her into

his embrace

head inclining towards

her upturned face

a moment of fruition

a snippet of time

held in that sand mould

interpreted in

that conjured image

soon to be gone

the commemoration

of that fleeting act

but for them

a seismic event



bringing beauty and hope

to life now renewed

love now bespoken.


The composition of this imaginative verse narrative was based on the first two photographs and the central painting (of the two sets of facing footprints).  These are the creations of the Canadian artist, Alma Kerr, to whom I am indebted for granting me permission to use them.





The sandman looms

long and low in the westerly sun

on the evening shore

treading his beach

with dedicated feet

an image hunter

heir of Autolycus


 for Nature’s hidden ornaments

probing with his stick

revealing the sand crabs

tempting the tide to turn

and wash away his presence

leaving no imprint

only a fleeting glance

a captured instant

of memory

of another world

arcane and mystical

beneath the sand

before the glimpse

releases him

and he moves on

into the dying day.


The Sandman was spotted on the beach beside Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland,UK, in 2003 … Photo and sketch …  WHB





I moved to the shoreline
On the beach you frequent,
Looking for traces
Of you as I went.

I slowly imbibed
The sea air, the spray,
A hint of your perfume
I caught on the way.

The rock-pools turned red
As I watched the sun die.
I knew that you’d been there,
Seen the same sunset sky.

You’d got there before me
And left your own mark.
Trusting I’d see it
Before it got dark.

So I  knelt on the seashore.
I stretched out my hand.
I thought of your purport,
Pressed my palm in the sand.

Our signs now together –
Symbols of trust.
Just a momentary message
Impaled in the dust.

I left them to wither
Side by side on the shore.
The waves would soon take them.
Together no more.

Surely a metaphor
Reflecting our past,
Our present, our future –
Envisioned at last.