The story behind the poem
This is the story of a little girl, the daughter of
close friends of our family. She was a bright, happy creature, always
friendly and eager. She taught me that the stalks of pink sorrel taste
like vinegar, and I apparently inspired her with an interest in tumble-polishing semi-precious stones (carnelians, agates, citrines)
which she hunted for
in the shingle of the beach near her family's holiday cottage.
I spent a few days in this cottage once on my own, in winter, at a
difficult time of my life. It was then that I wrote this poem, which
arose from the pain I felt at the girl's tragic end. Aged nine and in
perfect health, she choked one lunchtime and went into a coma from
which she never emerged.
by Damaris West
Read the poem
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