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Gems

 

Blue Cliffs beach

‘Garnets can be found
on this beach,’
the tourist brochure said,
so we searched for gems
not knowing exactly what
a garnet looked like
sure we’d recognise one
in the hand.

The flashing stream
was strewn with jewels
uncovered just for us,
all shades of green
(jade, dare we guess)
crystal white veined with gold,
glistening red marbled with black.
A hundred colours and blends,
rolled between thumb and finger
to catch the sunlight
and our eyes.

That night, emptying my pockets
in the hostel
I cast a handful of dull pebbles
on the floor.

You were like that,
a traveller in the wild
needing only the touch
of a wet finger
to reveal the gems
inside.

 

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