A Pebble for my Father – a poem by Carolyn Oulton

A Pebble for my Father

New Year’s Day, and I’d forgotten
to bring my own pebble to a sandy beach.
In the car park, the road twisting round
the bulge of a Victorian pavilion,
I’d have dug up the tarmac to get one,
dug out grit from under car tyres.
Rain daubed lightly on the ground
was no good at all, it would have crumpled
into my hands when I tried to throw it.

I didn’t expect that one perfect pebble
on the ground. Casual as a shoplifter
I bent and put it in my pocket.
Then the wind and my feet were sagging
into the lugubrious sand. Whether it’s
hello or goodbye again, I never quite know.
But what I will say is, that by the sea edge,
wet as if they had swum out of God’s hand,
A hundred thousand pebbles were thrown back.


Carolyn Oulton‘s poetry has been published in magazines including Orbis, The Frogmore Papers, iota, Seventh Quarry, Ariadne’s Thread, Envoi, New Walk, Upstreet, Acumen and Ink, Sweat and Tears. Her most recent collection Accidental Fruit is published by Worple Press. Her website is at carolynoulton.co.uk


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