Simon Armitage

(26 May 1963 / Marsden, West Yorkshire)

The Hard


Here on the Hard, you're welcome to pull up and stay;
there's a flat fee of a quid for parking all day.

And wandering over the dunes, who wouldn't die
for the view: an endless estate of beach, the sea

kept out of the bay by the dam-wall of the sky.
Notice the sign, with details of last year's high tides.

Walk on, drawn to the shipwreck, a mirage of masts
a mile or so out, seemingly true and intact

but scuttled to serve as a target, and fixed on
by eyeballs staring from bird-hides lining the coast.

The vast, weather-washed, cornerless state of our mind
begins on the Hard; the Crown lays claim to the shore

between low tide and dry land, the country of sand,
but the moon is law. Take what you came here to find.

Stranger, the ticket you bought for a pound stays locked
in the car, like a butterfly trapped under glass;

stamped with the time, it tells us how taken you are,
how carried away by now, how deep and how far.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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