Flat periwinkles (a pantoum)

shells

Whenever I’m over in the west – as I am now – I walk the beach nearby the village and pick up shells. I am incapable of walking on any beach, anywhere, and not picking up shells. Being the west coast, the local shells are mostly winkles, limpets, whelks and the like. My particular favourite is the yellow morph of the flat periwinkle (the wee ones above, with a much larger common periwinkle, Littorina littorea); I have hundreds of these by now (certainly enough to fill three bittermint boxes). When I’m in the city, I keep them to hand, like worry-beads. They rattle around in a most satisfying manner, and remind me of better places.

Flat periwinkles
Butter-bright against the shingle
Littorina littoralis,
Shining in the salt-wet sunlight
Beneath a periwinkle sky.

Littorina littoralis:
A precise match, name to nature,
Beneath a periwinkle sky:
Liminal; literal; littoral.

A precise match, name to nature,
Marking the line of division –
Liminal, literal, littoral –
Between opposing elements.

These yellow shells, those perfect whorls,
Littorina littoralis
Between opposing elements,
Butter-bright against the shingle.

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This entry was posted in pantoum, poetry, Scotland, verse and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Flat periwinkles (a pantoum)

  1. I like the yellow ones too 🙂

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