Hélène Demetriades: a poem



Norse Code


On Uig Sands I walk along the tide line

of an empty beach collecting shells

in wonder at the salmon pink of tiny clams,

the indigo of mussels, the yellow of the periwinkle,

the blanched breastplate of a sea urchin

double perforations running up a seam.


I press these fragments back into wet sand,

make a collage, lose myself.

My daughter jitters on, The shells are pretty,

I see that. Are we done?


We walk up and down the shifting dunes,

watch a cloud of starlings chasing sheep.

We come across a Uig chessman, giant replica

of his kinsmen found buried in the sand.

A solemn seated king, a sheathed dagger

like a sacred scroll in his upturned palms.



Hélène is a practising psychotherapist and poet living in South Devon. She is joint winner of the Hedgehog Press Full Fat Poetry Collection competition 2020, and will have her debut collection The Plumb Line published in 2022. Her poetry can be found in numerous magazines and webzines. She was highly commended by Patience Agbabi in Marsden The Poetry Village Competition 2019.