The chaos came down tumbling
And finally resolved itself to calm
And calm were the waves that sauntered
Braving the bay with their gentle crackling
Across the silver fine grains of sand.

The storm had vanished, departed,
A bruise upon the distant horizon
Its hurried signature the tangled seaweed
And the confused circling gulls.

You could not stop to trace it
Upon the waters of the ocean
As they breathed, languidly, as if
They had forever been at restful peace.

Because, you knew different,
You knew how before
The waters had rolled like an army
Of stout drunken men, pitching and gawping,
Throwing themselves onto the beach
Like the drowning men the water
Would hope to demolish
Desperate and clawing, their outstretched
Hands embalmed in the pale light of the moon.

Who knew what horrors they had seen
In the monstrous sea, the stars upon them
Glowering, the wind around them bellowing,
Mercilessly, always, always louder
Than the final shouts of the dying men
As they stumbled down beneath the waves.

But the sea stretched out
And became like silk, it drew a curtain
Over the production of the winds and the rains
And now you walk and drag your finger
Across the cold ink water
You paint a pretty picture, a calm watercolour
And no one remembers the frenzy of the water.

It was like all of nature had come loose
From her moorings, and had
Wandered away down the stream
And even the rats could not escape
Their watery dreadful fate.

No, nobody lingers on the horror
The fading still beauty of the autumnal leaves.
We do not remember the torment
It’s like another life that went by
Shady ships in the night
We ignore what went before
For when we look out, we see that pretty picture
A quiet smiling ocean, and a still seashore.

Rose Staveley-Wadham

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