The Crab and the Gull by Diane Mulholland



Diane Mulholland was born in Australia and now lives in London, where she can often be found beside the Thames. Her work has appeared widely in journals including Under the Radar, Long Poem Magazine and The Tangerine, and she recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.





















The Crab and the Gull









The beach here is black sheets of rock.

Long windrows of tangled seaweed

are a glossier shade of black

and the sky gathers over the North Sea.


The rock pool is crusted with a ring

of tiny white shells and full of scurrying.

Your shadow stills the hunt, but wait

and the crabs start up again across the sand.


There is one, bright as a beacon,

his body a juicy pink curl drawn

like a cork from a too-tight home.

A claw pokes here and there


but everywhere is occupied.

A white gull blinks against the grey sky,

hungry. You find an empty shell

and drop it in the water, and for a moment


you are God of the Beach, dispensing fate,

ruler of this empty stretch of sand and sea.

Watch him creep in backwards and disappear

among the many browns of the pool.



Diane Mulholland