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The Cowrie Shell a Poem from the Collection LifeTimes by Tim Taylor

It is with great pleasure that I welcome my friend and fellow author and poet, Tim Taylor to the blog today. Not only does he share some of his beautiful poetry, but his most recent poetry collection, LifeTimes, is on sale too! Over to you Tim.

Hi Val, many thanks for hosting me today.

As Christmas approaches, I’ve decided to do a special offer on my latest poetry collection, LifeTimes, which will be available for £5 (normal price £7) between now and the end of December. The book is also available (but undiscounted) on Amazon and from Maytree Press. My other collection, Sea Without a Shore, and my two novels, Zeus of Ithome and Revolution Day are all also available for £5 each. Or you can by any two for £9, any three for £13, or all four for £17 – plus £2.25 per book postage and packing. To order, e-mail me on

Here is a poem from LifeTimes:

The Cowrie Shell

“Just chuck ‘em in the skip,” she said

as if each object in that box

were not once part of me:

attached by long sinews of stories,

fed by flimsy arteries

through which a child’s heart

once pumped them full of meaning.

The box took them when life moved on.

Now lifeless, so I thought

but peeling back the cardboard

I could sense the gasps for air.

Each object in its turn cried out;

the child in me woke up

and would not let them go.

Among the marbles and the model cars

I found a cowrie shell: smooth, mottled,

exuding still the faintest smell of salt.

“You remember me,” it said

– that holiday in 1969”. I felt

a flickering of what seemed like recall.

I dug deep for that memory,

found it rotted by the years.

I steeled myself, obeyed

the pitiless reminder:

“you cannot keep them all.”

Not quite big enough to be an ornament,

if fitted better in a smaller hand.

I put it down: out fell a single grain of sand.

You can read more poems from LifeTimes (and others) here:

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