Elegy for a Dead Admiral, Possibly Nelson

Sheena Blackhall

Inspired by a Jack Vettriano painting

The beach is a shining platter. It has served up a table,
a diner, and waiters going about their business
of pampering eaters, oblivious to the tide
about to pounce like a predatory tiger.
The Admiral's telescope watches from a dune,
its owner dead as Davy Jones's locker.

Poems are like this, like bullets loaded
while cannon erupt in the background,
'Kiss me Hardys' before the coffin closes,
an aunt sniffs. The earth and the lid come down.
Sometimes there's nothing to do but put the words in place,
line by line as the ship prepares to drown.