Sea gift by Harriet Jae



In 2016 Harriet Jae emigrated to Ghent, Belgium, where she is studying Dutch. Previously she worked with refugees, and as editor of a UK refugee agency’s flagship publication.
Harriet’s poems have featured in The Rialto, Mslexia, The Ofi Press and Ink Sweat & Tears. She was longlisted for the 2016 Plough Prize.






















Sea gift









Waves of a swelling ocean,

our fathoming bodies move –

your hips, my answering shape

motion a heady storm.


Shoals of tiny silver fish  

flutter through us 

and somewhere

an anemone blossoms, unseen.


In the sway of the sea,

our seaweed limbs    

caress, relinquish, cling,

tendrils of helpless compliment.


How far would the storm reach? 


In a lost moment,

silk ropes entwined our minds,

our fingers prised

the hinges of time and space.


Wrecked and barnacled treasures

(so long, so deeply drowned)

stirred in the shifting seabed,

lit by brief lightning.


Far from you now,

castaway in the sun  

on this windswept shore,

I long to tell you:


I see now that each wave

begins to soften the rocks,

each yearns for and transforms the sand.

Some leave gifts  


of driftwood, shelljewels, starfish.


Harriet Jae