To the poet who breathed her last in this cave

This hollow place with the tide-breeze sighing—

Can I believe that the goddess brought me here

and say that when young dawn stroked rosy fingers

over the damp cave walls I saw your markings

and wondered how they aligned with the stars?


I unwrapped this tissue-linen and found nothing

but small bones, bird-fine and hollow, dyed shells

that I rinsed in tide-pool water and gazed at, wondering.

Can I believe that if the goddess brought me here

it was to interpret your breathings, the soft sigh echoed


by tide-breeze that vents this star-gazing cave?

Can I believe you once lived here at all?

Because I find only tissue-thin bones, salt-streaked

shells and they don’t align with your markings.

I wait under empty skies, dry-eyed and wondering.


When young dawn with her rosy fingers strokes

these open hands I will, with what care I can,

arrange these dyed shells, your bird-hollow bones

into a cairn below your markings. If I can believe

the goddess will bless the shrine, I will take this life-


breath and follow fading starlight onto the open sea

once more.


With apologies and gratitude to Jenifer Cartland at Poems from in between for this inspiration.

19 thoughts on “To the poet who breathed her last in this cave”

    1. Thank you for your ever-kind words. I’m glad you liked Jenifer’s poem. After I’d read it a few times, this one kind of wrote itself. 🙂


    1. I was hoping you’d like it. 🙂 I loved the inspiration so much, this was a true pleasure to write.

      I also enjoyed reading about Gorham’s Cave–I didn’t know anything about it before.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. i’m rereading yours and Jenifer’s poems to understand how your tones and mood consort with each other. You use the same rosy-fingered Dawn and some of the same imagery, but you very much made it your own. Hers seemed to be addressed to the heavens. Yours seemed to be addressed to the living things in tidepools. Also, the title itself sparked so many meanings to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this take on it, Nate. I almost didn’t link it because I wasn’t sure if it would stand on its own…it was so firmly tied to Jenifer’s poem for me.


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