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By-the-Wind-Sailors – also known as sea rafts, purple sails, little sails or simply Vellela by Kitty Greenbrown

Not jellyfish he said,
more crabby than he’d meant
because he turned again
and added
By-the-wind-sailors.

And what a fleet.
Sunday plate blue
with sails stuck up like Tom’s legs
when he and John took the last hill from Barnstaple with no gears –
long before the ashes blew back
and the beach cricket years.

He turns again
from shoeing something reluctant into a bucket
for a pale shrimp of a relative.
And all left-handers, see.
Heading port side of the wind
whether they like it or not – poor beggars.

Well we can’t help it either, I thought.
Putting a dog whelk in my pocket,
and remembering the walk
when I still thought
that north
was always
straight
ahead.