We spent hours in our hunts
surveying through the sand,
our shoes logged with creeping tide
as we scuttled down the bay.
Even in winter, cradling cold fish and chips,
the newspaper sodden with rain,
we raged in pursuit of prize shapes,
cockle, cone, and lightning whelk,
and we’d cup them kindly from the ground,
eye them close, their embossed frame,
thumb the round edges, bring them home
in pockets and pouches and plastic bags.
We collected seashells
in rain and mud and gust
to range them on the mantelpiece
where they collect the dust.