This foreign sea is not waving,
Nor drowning anyone.
It does not rampage
Up and down the beach,
Eating our shoes and towels.
It holds me like a mother,
Safe and warm, shows me
Funny bright fish
To tickle me, lets me see
All of itself, shot taffeta
Colours like the party dress
My mother made me,
Blue violet green.
My north sea is the colour of bruises,
It's rough like boys
You're not allowed to play with.
Cold, opaque, and rowdy,
Shouting all night, heaving
Lumps of concrete about.
It swipes anglers off piers, paddlers
Off beaches, trawlers
From the surface. It's mad, bad,
Dangerous and unknowable.
But it's the one I go home to.
Valerie Laws's Other Poems
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