A sad memory of local disaster.

Cockles of the heart

The Chinese gangmaster told us
It would be home from home,
Bowed and barefoot, in water
Just above our ankles, no more,
As our ancestors harvested rice,
So we would harvest cockles,
Nature would be kind to us.

The English gangmaster joked
That it was like seaside bingo,
'Eyes down, look in', he laughed,
Morecambe is closed for the winter,
But the cockles are still in season,
Hiding in the soft sands of the Bay,
Nature would be kind to us.

I remember it was like being in a paddy field,
But it was dark, very dark and very cold,
Our little lights did pick something out at sea,
What I later learned were white horses,
They galloped in and overwhelmed us,
Trampled us under their pounding charge,
While below our broken bodies cockles slept.

And the bingo?

Ah, yes, someone on the shore
Did shout a few numbers.

Chris Fernie, 2009

Poetry by Chris Fernie
Read 657 times
Written on 2009-07-21 at 09:44

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