Sea Horse

It was on the first day of our seaside holiday

that I found him

washed up,


spat out by the sea 

and swimming alone in the rock pool.

I had never seen a sea horse before,

only pictures in a book.

I used my shoe to fish him out

and ran back quickly,

one shoe on and one shoe off,

before the water leaked out.

I put him in the sink

and watched him swim.

He didn’t seem quite right.

Or maybe it was the pictures that were wrong,

or my memory.

He couldn’t stay in the sink.

My mother made that quite clear.

So I found a jar in the cobwebby shed

and put him in that.

I fed him on bits

of bread,

minced meat

and mashed banana.

He spat them all out angrily.

I thought he would die from lack of food 

and my mother said he couldn’t come home with us.

So I took him back to the waters edge

and released him,

gave him back 

to the sea.

The next day I found him lying on the pebbles.

The sea had rejected him,

spat him out,

just as he had spat out my food offerings.

I carried him back,

in my shoe again

and put him 


into the bell jar.

I’m older now and when I look at him,

I’m wise enough to know

that he is no seahorse,

but not wise enough

to know his name.

Only that the sea rejected him,

spat him out,

as he had rejected me.


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