When we were children
We would walk the tidemark
And talk of floating the wide grey water
To the places we had seen in Ladybird books
And in dreams.
(All the while shivering; never going deeper than our knees)
We would see all the ocean’s monsters in a stranded jellyfish;
The history of tall ships and piracy
In a tangle of fishing nets and floats.
Once we found a strange thing
A mannequin, perhaps, or a toy
A tiny, pathetic bedgraggled mess
That mummy would not let us come near.
You whispered “it looks like a little boy.”
But it could not be,
I knew it could not be,
Because who would let that happen to a child?