Poem introduction

Vanishing Points

Vanishing Points: I Beach Huts, Milford, 1930

These are a series of three sonnets which look at different episodes from my family's life. The first begins with a photograph taken at Milford-on-Sea, in the 1930s, where a mother and a father and their two boys are sitting on the beach, and it imagines what happens later in life.

I Beach Huts, Milford, 1930

These are the high-tide mark in this family’s life;
they huddle together, mugging for the Box-Brownie,
basking in the salt-air and sun between two wars,
the lacuna of a first summer down from school:
a barefoot father in tie and starched collar,
a mother’s equine calm, as two boys shy like foals
around her. One will wake each night in later life
to a friend’s screams from inside a burning tank.
One in middle-age, at his mother’s bedside, will wildly shake
a bell for nurse, then drive in silence to collect the priest.
Today as you pose before the row of huts,
in a silence folded between the wave and the wash,
I think of our life together becoming utterly lost,
and lift this camera like a bible for an oath.


from In The Flesh (Chatto & Windus, 2010), © Adam O’Riordan 2010, used by permission of the author.

Where next?

Sponsor this poem

Would you like to sponsor this poem? Find out how here.

Recordings

Adam O'Riordan

Adam O'Riordan Downloads

1Manchester

£0.89

2Vanishing Points: I Beach Huts, Milford, 1930

3Vanishing Points: II A Wedding Letter, Edinburgh, 1906

4Vanishing Points: III A Trade Union College, Dumferline, 1983

5NGC3949

£0.89

6Goooogle

£0.89

7The Whetstone

£0.89

8The Moth

£0.89

9The Corpse Garden

£0.89

10Scar Tissue

£0.89

11Blossom

£0.89

12The Edges of Love: I A College Window, Cambridge

13The Edges of Love: II A Department Store Escalator, Paris

14Dressing

£0.89

15Trawling

£0.89

16Manuel Uribe Garza

£0.89

17My Father in the Garden

No preview avaialable.£0.89

18Candle Moulds

£0.89

19Silver Lake

£0.89

20A Double Wash Stand

£0.89

21Dun Laoghaire

£0.89

22An Apron Pocket

£0.89

23Sandy Hook

£0.89

24A Hearth Fire

£0.89

25Heidelberg

£0.89

26A Bedstead

£0.89

27Teatralnaya

£0.89

28A Dance in the Kitchen

£0.89

29Painted Eggs

No preview avaialable.£0.89

30The Leverets

£0.89

31Cheat

£0.89

32On Fixing a Bloody Mary

£0.89

33Oysters

£0.89

34Mareotis

No preview avaialable.£0.89

35Portrait of a Copper Beach

£0.89

36Portrait of a Barn Owl

£0.89

37Revenants

£0.89

38Endnote

£0.89

39Ring Angels

£0.89

40The Act of Falling

£0.89

41Cull

£0.89

42Pallbearers

£0.89

Books by Adam O'Riordan