Neu!Boots DAY TWENTY-THREE – Douglas Lipton

Birling Carrs

First, it’s on the flowing tide
on the sand that we see her,
naked skin dark in the surf,
belly down, dragging herself
blubbering ashore, hopeful.

We walk towards her
to gawp or to offer succour,
take a camera shot,
make eye contact with eyes
that would stop the heart.

She drags herself away
back to the sanctuary
of the welcoming waves
as she loses herself
in the undertow.

An hour later, the tide is up,
and she is on the shelving rocks
this time, trying to lie low,
but when she moves her limbs
on the seaweed, we see her.

Again, we approach – to ogle,
maybe to help, but she’d
bite the hand, and how
would she feel  – alarmingly hot,
wet, heavy – were we to lift her?

And who would want her
damaged skin, alien,
one of her kind in our midst?
What does she want here with us?
– they’d ask. Why here? Why us?


Douglas Lipton was born and educated in Glasgow. He has spent most of his working life in Dumfriesshire as an English Teacher, Special Educational Needs Teacher and FE college Educational Support Worker. He attended the famed Glasgow University Department of Extra Mural and Adult Education Creative Writing Class inaugurated by Philip Hobsbaum.


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