I walk along the foreshore
at the side of Belfast Lough,
search through the stones
for ideal size and shape;
flat, round, just a little weight.

I wonder if the stones I find
are those I’ve found before,
washed up again
by movement
of the tide.

Each stone contains
a memory; I savour;
heft it gently
in my hand,
set it free,
watch it skim.

I count the skips,
still searching
for the perfect throw;
and as the stones
sink one by one
each memory recedes.


30 Responses to “Stones”

  1. This is lovely. Tossing memories…

  2. As you know David I really like this poem. However, I don’t know if you realise that your ‘life study’ poems if I may call them that, help me a great deal to remember to t\ake pleasure in the simple,but important things in life, something which I have been finding it difficult to do at the present time.

    And hopefully the stones carrying bad memories will remain on the sea bed and the good ones will be once again washed onto the beach to be revisited.

    A most engaging poem, thank you.

    lots of love



    • belfastdavid Says:


      Thank you Christine,

      It is so easy for both of us to forget to be grateful for the simple things, and to forget to be grateful for the fact that we are both still here, when we so nearly might not have been.

      And I love the thought of the bad memories staying submerged but the good ones coming back to be re-visited. There are a lot of good memories.

      Lots of love


  3. I love this – it conjured up a flow of bittersweet memories… I think I’ll go for a walk on the beach later and throw some pebbles into the sea 🙂

  4. You paint such a pretty picture, David, as unassuming as it is profound. A joy of a read!

  5. Something about this poem is very reassuring.

    I like the idea of watching troubles ‘skip’ across the water before sinking too–each skip being quite like an exclamation point on the pitch. If any are brought back by the tide, the sea will have had enough time to wash all the bad karma away. Such is the way with those memories, and friends, worth finding again. *smile*

    Well done.
    Much love,

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Shirley,

      I have visited that particular place by the side of Belfast Lough many times throughout my life. I find the simple pleasure of standing there skimmimg stones enormously reassuring.

      Much Love

  6. I used to skip stones as a child…it was quite cathartic…now I just write…not as much fun but still cathartic…

  7. David, this poem is just so calming and reassuring. I really like this.

    I can see you standing by the lough very clearly in my mind as I read this. You’ve penned such lovely visual imagery.

    I suck at skimming stones. But I certainly take the time occassionally to feel the smoothness of ther surface, take in their colour or pattern. I find that comforting too.
    I like the idea of casting memories out with the stone into the water. Very cleansing!
    Maybe in time they will wash up again on the shore or maybe they will wash up upon another shore in another time and place. When they do time will have taken its effet the metaphorical waters transforming those memories as the waters of lough transform the stones.

    Thankyou for sharing this. The comtemplative nature of the poem is just what I need for a sunny Sunday.

    Take care.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Tikarma,

      I think we all need places in our lives where we can retreat to, if even only in our heads, and regain our strength.

      That paricular place by Belfast Lough is one such for me. I have been going there on and off ever since I was a teenager – it was one of my mother’s favourite places too. I am delighted you could see me there *Smile*
      There is something very primitve about holding stones in our hands and throwing them into water – I always find it comforting.

      Enjoy your sunny Sunday

      Take care

  8. Hi David,

    I just love this poem! It has a simple peacefulness to it. But you capture the whole healing process within it so well. It is like you have taken us on a simple, yet extremely effective guided meditation. I feel better already after just reading it! Thank you my friend.

    Now, I’m off to find a lake with some flat stones!

    Beannachd leat my friend,


    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Jamie,

      I am still chuckling at you going “off to find a lake with some flat stones”. Particularly following on from Tikarma’s comment that she “sucks at skimming stones”. It is a gender thing methinks. *Smile* – some thing about the competitive element perhaps. *Grin*

      Delighted too that you can read it and feel better – it had a very calming effect for me as I was writing it.

      Enjoy the lake.

      Beannachd leat my friend


  9. beautiful ….. never could get the hang of skipping stones myself. decided it was a guy thing – could watch the look of triumph on their face and realize it was more or less than anything i could see. you capture the aftermath – i like the thought of wondering if the stones you find are ones already thrown

    • belfastdavid Says:

      I think it is definitely a “guy thing” Eileen
      Although there is just the same feeling to be garnered from throwing stones into the sea and watching the plop as they sink beneath the water.

      Interesting that in America it is referred to as skipping stones whereas in this country it is skimming stones. 🙂

      Sometimes we do that with memories – find them again!

  10. Vera Hazelgrove Says:

    I forgot to tick the box to be notified of new posts and it took me all this time to work out how to find your posts. All these places work in a different way … well, I have to have some excuse … I am not good at all at finding things!
    I could not help smiling when I started to read this poem! Feeling the anticipation of those skims. I have always loved to watch it.
    “I count the skips,
    still searching
    for the perfect throw;”
    I hold my breath watching, – as if for a short time the stones have no weight at all, they just fly over the glittering water, touch it and keep flying and then disappear.
    “setting memories free” is a beautiful way of describing it! It must be wonderful to have such a place to go to!
    and may all nice and good memories keep washing up on your shore,
    to keep your enjoyment of skimming stones! the perfect throw ….

    Very well done! I love it!

    Your weaver friend, Vera

    • belfastdavid Says:

      I am delighted you persisted Vera – always pleased to see you.

      I suspect skimming stones is an activity which has gone on ever since humans walked on this earth – it is such a simple, yet entrancing activity. I love your description of watching whilst holding your breath.

      I live in the city now – 70 miles to the nearest sea – but I go when I can. The particular place in the poem is farther away – I was last there some 12 months ago. But I can go in my head whenever I choose. *Smile*

      You take care

      My very best to you


  11. peta straatman Says:

    My first reaction to this was “Perfectionism Rules Okay!”. This may, however, be a bit harsh as there seems to be general agreement above that stone skimming is a “guy thing”.

    “Self Portrait” has, up to now, been the type of totally factual, quirky commentary on day to day life that I love. Mature reflection leads me to wonder if you are beginning to get to me a bit as I am perfectly happy with your quiet, contemplative walk skimming stones which are actually memories.

    luv and a hug Peta

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Ah Peta,
      As any skimmer pf stones will tell you there is no such thing as “the perfect throw”. and even if there was it would be so ephemeral, there and gone in an instant. And you would be the only one to see it!!

      I am delighted to be “beginning to get to you a bit”. Quiet, contemplative walks are all part of the journey. *Smile*

      Love and a hug to you too

  12. A very mellow, thoughtful & playful poem. I’ve done this often in skimming stones on the beaches of County Clare (:

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Wonderful place to skim stones I would have thought – the beaches of County Clare. And to imagine skimmimg them all the way to America perchance

  13. Brilliant work David

  14. Too often we focus on the memories ignited by sight, sound or smell. For myself and others, tactile memories are the most profound.
    Thank you. I really enjoyed this poem.

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