Thursday, 9 November 2017

Day of Reckoning

I watched the sun go down

from a beach strewn with driftwood.

A chap with a tripod

fixed his camera and

prayed that no-one would

walk into his shot. It was

that kind of sunset.

People began to appear from

walkways and sidestreets,

like folk assembling for a

firework do, or New Year’s Eve

in Liverpool as the clock

counts down; forty or fifty waiting

for the sun to go down.

But the sun doesn’t go down,

it never does, it simply

moves on. Moves on from here,

New Zealand’s western shore, first place

each day to show its hand,

moves on to check what gives

around the corner.

I followed the dip of the disc

and as darkness lapped the edge

of the beach and the man with the

camera packed up his kit, I felt

the sun steel itself for its

American shift: difficult task,

but someone has to do it.

And I wondered what the sun

would light on this time around,

and how the coming day would be

recorded in the log:

stars aligned, stripes formed up?

Dawn lighting early?

Banner yet waving?

Or must we pluck up courage

to inspect this poll to say

who’ll lead the human tribe? Like

turning up for the specialist’s verdict:

malignant, or not? Either way

self-inflicted, too late to

live again now.

Darkness on the beach. No golden postscript

tonight, and the waves

hammer grimly on the unlit shingle.

Driftwood sculptures stand stark and grotesque,

fear infiltrates the senses, and

cold winds whisper through the sands:

Prognosis uncertain, it’s out of our hands.

© Charlie Lambert

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Charlie Lambert is a former sports journalist who began writing poetry in 2016. He is among a group of poets who have contributed to the anthology in support of human rights, 'Write to be Counted', published in October by the Book Mill. He lives in Liverpool, England.