In the seventh year by Jackie Kay

Our sea is still mysterious as morning mist

its flapping arms stretched out for dry sand

its running heels sliding over pebbles

when the sun dives in at night

We are turquoise and clear some days

still as a breeze; others story like stones

you are in deep stroking my bones

my love an ache, the early light

spreading the water

seven years seven years I repeat

over and over

clasping this timeless, this changing thing.

Someone asked for a brief analysis of this poem: I see it as a love poem to ‘Louise’, where the sea is perceived as a body with ‘flapping arms’ and ‘running heels’. The lovers are compared to the ocean: ‘we are turquoise and clear some days…’. It’s a poem that describes the physical act of making love: ‘you are in deep, stroking my bones’, and we get the sense that this is an anniversary: ‘seven years seven years’. The images flow into each other, so ‘this timeless, this changing thing’ could be seen to refer both to the beloved, Louise, and also to the nature of love itself. It’s a poem worth rereading over and over for the beautiful way the sea and their love overlap.


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