I used to hear the seagulls
In the distance, and tell my sons
That they had been swept inland
By a storm out at sea. Because
That is what my father had said to me.

But as I got older I used to wonder,
If they had sought sanctuary of their own
Accord, following the Medway,
Through the locks and surrounding hills.
Calling, calling to others lost.

Until today, I did a walk that I had never
Done before – the path sticky
And uneven beneath my feet. Alone,
I found myself looking over my shoulder
In spite of sunshine and an open sky.

I walked and walked until the path,
Opened out onto a familiar road.
Looked up to see the seagulls circling,
And swooping like pairs and pairs of
Old mens’ eyebrows set free on the air.

Realised no storm had blown them,
Of course, nor that they had followed
A stream to its source. But rather they had
Found, as scavengers will, the local tip,
With all its temptations in a skip.

August 2022

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