STAR POems: All of Me

By Helen Larham


I have always loved him

despite his neglect

so when I stepped out onto the sea

he bore my full weight, everything:

All those times I had ventured in

and they had laughed

at my frantic back stroking

and butterflying like a frog.

My woollen costume

expanding in the water

corrugating, like elephant skin

uncovering yards of goose flesh.

He took all of me.


The sea laid himself flat, calm.

Cradled me, gently nudging

until I obliged  and turned on my back.

Floating weightless, untethered

drifting away from myself.

He let me have all of him;

Sometimes with waves as high

as my neck could crane

swirling me up in a whirlpool

then down to the ghost wrecks below.

Other times rocking me asleep

in the grey mist.


When he at last grew tired of our games

he beached me at my home port

gave me back to the land-

to my family.

I sat silent till the lights blossomed

in the black, just beyond the threshold

of the town.

I sat with the whole expanse of him

still echoing in my head

and with the tidal moon

still lapping at my blood.