Old couple, they sit by the grey sea
He wears a flat cap, and remembers
The victories, of wars won, the blood
That was shed, the cap proud on his
Head, he marched through France and
Now he sits in a trance, on the promenade,
His wife beside him, staring out to sea.

Old couple, they sit by the grey sea,
She’s bundled up as if she were facing
Siberia, but she had a lot in her,
What she survived, and lost, so much
Loss, children before their time, but she
Always had him, her hymn, the thing
That made her proud and strong.

They would always sit there, on that bench
Pockmarked by the gulls, and that
Was true love, enacted in silence, the
Blurring of the gusty winds, the brown
English channel, languishing towards the
Atlantic, theirs a love they could not sink.

But now, now, do you see them, sat side
By side? Where did they go?
Him with the thermos, her with the sandwiches,
Sustained by their memories, the beating
Of their ancient hearts with old joys stirring
They are gone, gone, he forgot what it was
To remember, and she was left alone, alone,
In some shoddy nursing home, no longer a person,
Just old age, that awful phase, fodder for
The grave, fresh for the mortuary,
Waiting, always waiting, and they didn’t let
Her keep his photograph, but she kept him
On her mind, knowing that when she got to
Heaven, she would find him there, sat on their
Bench, in silence, staring out across the grey sea.


Rose Maguire