Gulls on the beach

Now the beach is swept clean

by the virus it’s a shimmering arc

surf pummels and tugs at,

uncertain in its turbulent love

whether to punish or embrace.

For now we’re landlocked, forbidden

to swim, so we walk the promenade, past

the parks, the empty benches, to where

a jumble of cliffs and sea-drenched ledges

welcomes the Pacific swell

with dizzying outbursts of spray.

This is plague autumn. TV

brings us our daily tally of deaths,

empty and shuttered shops spell out

their toll of disaster. But undisturbed

on the beach that is now their own, great

flocks of gulls are a silvery multiple

weathervane, pointing one way -

but where is that?

Andrew Taylor is the author of seventeen books of poetry, including Collected Poems (Salt, UK 2004), The unhaunting (Salt, UK 2009), and Impossible Preludes (Margaret River Press, 2016). He has published much literary criticism, and written the libretti for two operas, as well as translating poetry from German and Italian. In 1975 he co-founded Adelaide’s Friendly Street Poets, Australia’s oldest continuous public poetry reading, and later the South Australian Writers’ Centre. Since leaving Perth in 2014 he divides his time between Sydney and Wiesbaden in Germany.

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