The sea is going nowhere
beside Belmullet pier,
it puckers mean and grey,
slaps the low wall all day
making me see

how water needs to flow
somewhere, to fall as rain,
run down a mountainside, or
be the river we step in
and out of. I remember

one March Sunday
watching a young man alone
beside the hemmed-in sea.
The sky was holding back,
had gathered itself into itself,

refusing the relief of rain.
Years ago I stood
the other end of Europe,
on Almeria’s harbour wall,
heart swelled to bursting,

watched the sea go nowhere
and the sky hang dry.
Sometimes tears can’t flow.
Dams hold back water.
We have nowhere to go.