Stolen from the Shore by Tessa Thomson

A woman stood beside the sea, a dear child at her side,
I watched them as they gazed, from side to side and wide.
Their gazes fell around the shore but no one could they see,
But then they caught my watchful eye and caste a glance at me.

I turned to see if there might be a person at my back,
I looked along the sandy path and up the roadside track.
But there was no one I could see that looked a part of them,
No other person man or boy to hold their gaze and then,

I turned again towards the sea, but now the strand was clear.
No longer stood the woman and child held so dear.
I searched the sea and rolling foam; the waves that crashed on shore,
The pair who stood alone that day were gone forever more.

Many years have passed since then and many walks I’ve had,
Along that beach and on that strand, and often I’ve been sad
To wonder if I saw things right or did my eyes play tricks,
For surely it was the not the pair passing o’er the Styx.

Should I have questioned why they stood so lonely and forlorn?
Should I have wondered why the world held nought for them to mourn?
Or was it me imagining that I could be like them,
With death and thoughts of afterlife tugging at my hem.

Did that same mother and her child feel life could not be borne?
Did something happen in their lives from which their hearts were torn?
Did friends release them from their love and caste them both aside,
If so I understand that loss, and the wishing then to hide.

For I have stood in that same place and wondered what could be,
What did my life accomplish; what good was there to see.
What friends will praise my legacy after I am gone?
To tell the tales of how I lived and where my life went wrong.

But I shall live a few more years and count my blessings now,
Not take to swimming in the depths of life’s despairing jowls.
But think upon that mother and the dear child at her side,
And bless that sight for giving me a reason not to hide.