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  • Writer's pictureJim Brown

Five Finger Strand

Updated: Feb 2

I want to go back to Donegal,

To the rock at the end of the strand.

And sit there feeling humble and small,

Just a speck in a rugged land.

I want to feel the Atlantic’s blast,

Salt rimming my tingling face,

The endless roar as the breakers crash,

On the sands of this timeless place.

I want to inhale the seaweed smell,

Hear the cry of the herring gull.

Study the galaxy, coiled in a shell,

Find the Twilights blackened hull.

I want to pick up a flattened stone,

And skim it across the sea.

Like ancient men, who here did roam

And skimmed them just like me.

I want to walk the length of the strand,

My feet etching a lonely line,

Back to the rock where I will stand,

To watch the tide reclaim my time.

Yes; I must go back to Donegal,

To that rock at the end of the beach,

To remember that all in all.

This dream is still mine to reach.

Jim Brown, 15/07/2000

This poem was composed after a trip to Donegal’s Inishowen peninsula on the 15th July 2000.

Although the poem centers around contemplating the wonders of this magnificent beach from the vantage point of a rock, it also brought back memories of other parts of the globe where I have found solace while sitting alone, looking along a curve of sand with the roar of the sea in my ears, the wind ruffling the hair and salty air flushing the lungs. Quiet contemplation always comes easy when the background roar of the ocean smoothers other distractions.

I like the  feeling of a link with the past, that image of a solitary person walking along the water’s edge is timeless;  the sand, the sea, the sky doing what they have always done  and whether it is a stone age man or a dog walker we are all mere specks in the grand scale of things.

The “Twilights blackened hull” mentioned in the poem refers to a  sailing ship which ended up wrecked on these sands in 1889, the timbers of which can still be seen at certain states of the tide.

The charity I have linked to this poem is the Marie Curie Hospices, providers of end of life care to those battling with an incurable illness. My good friend Elaine Mc Bride spent her last days with them after a fifteen year battle with cancer. She loved travelling and exploring this remarkable planet and walking the length of Five Finger Strand would have seen her in her element. If you would like to make a donation please click the Just Giving link.


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