The Saturday poem: The Empty Sound

A new poem by David Butler

David Butler

David Butler



That morning, the tide kept on going out. By noon,
the corrugated floor stretched out past eyesight.
‘Come on,’ my father said, ‘let’s see how far we get!’ Our tracks
meandered miles across the sand before we turned.

All summer, parties arrive on foot from Anglesey.
Along the way, the enterprising set up stalls. Things lost
are found: storm-lanterns; lobster-pots; lorgnettes;
cavernous hulks; the U-boat a squid engulfed.

Migrant seabirds coast in ghostly shoals. A distraught moon
plates all, as though searching for something mislaid.
No-one would be surprised to read dead mariners walked.

We’ve begun to forget the sea has ever been here –
until the rumours: low thunder over the horizon; a salty breeze;
the tracks of vendors decamping; a deepening unease.

David Butler’s second collection, Barbaric Glass, was published in 2017 by Doire Press. His poem cycle Blackrock Sequence won the World Illustration Award in 2018