Roisin Duffy


It washed up on the shore

one winter's morning,

seventeen tons of stranded whale,

belly and bones and blubber and teeth

exposed and trapped on the public beach.

The townsfolk came to stare,

and some came to help,

but the sheer size and slippery skin

preventing them from saving him

from a slow demise, on a shallow tide.

All they could do was keep him calm

and wait and hope the tide

would turn, in time for the giant

to rise on the crest of a wave,

and safely leave this alien place.

Man and beast were linked for a while

until the tide began to turn,

and as the water slowly rose

the whale began to flop and float,

and the people gave a cry of hope.

At last the bitter winter sea,

rose high enough for him to reach the deep,

and just before he went from sight,

he splashed his tail in silent thanks,

for the vigil they kept, on the frozen sands.

copyright Roisin Duffy


Price: €800. Size: 24” x 26”.

Artist & Poet

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