Trish Raleigh-Doyle and Liam Manning at an Inklings meeting last week.

Out of the Bottle

This week’s submission, from Liam Manning and Trish Raleigh-Doyle, have the same title ‘Out of the Bottle’.

by Liam Manning

Rolling ever landwards, the aquamarine waves turn translucent blue.

Petticoat frills curl in on themselves as the waves lose their strength.

Hissing watery claws grasp desperately at the beach, before being dragged impotently into their own backwash.

Golden sand stings angrily underfoot in the midday heat.

Mad dogs and Englishmen wilt in their own cliché.

These waves have crashed here for millions of years.

There has never been silence in this place.

Wave after relentless wave. After relentless wave. After relentless wave.

Sunbathers, like tanned slugs on jaded loungers, glistening in factor 15 moistness, unsure where the sweaty stickiness begins, or where the milky lotion ends.

Nothing moves, everything crushed into hot stillness by the baking sun.

No children play on this beach.

No family-sized windcheaters, no rockpools, no ice-cream, no public toilets.

No fun.

This is hardcore sun worship.

Thick leathery hides turn over gruntingly, to expose another layer of fresh epidermis to the lethal rays.

There is no joy, no laughter, no banter to be heard in this searing heat.

Just the brooding faces of those striving to attain the unattainable.

The perfect tan.

Nothing else matters.

The sullen self-obsessed silence is broken only by the crashing waves.

And still the sun burns its way into the dripping bodies on their canvas racks.

Some can see the glint of sunlight on glass, a microscopic flash in the enormity of the ocean.

A bottle…

But no one leaves their lounger to investigate.

Too immersed in their need for perfection.

Too many bits have yet to be browned.

They turn away and close their eyes to the sun.

Close their eyes to everything.


by Trish Raleigh-Doyle

Within this bottle

Comes a story in time

The greatest ever told

In prose and rhyme.


Written on paper

And rolled up tight

Thrown to the ocean

To bob out of sight.


The seasons came

The seasons went

On the waves

Its time was spent.


Its powerful words

Protected by glass

Its messaged hushed

Many lips, they have passed.


But one day it came

To rest on the shore

Its journey over

Its silence no more.


With a pop of the cork

Its words were released

Each syllable spilt

On the hot sand beneath.


Out of the bottle

The message now flowed

I love you forever

Just thought you should know

Liam Manning and Trish Raleigh-Doyle are members of Inklings Writing Group, who meet on Tuesdays at 10.30am in the Annebrook House Hotel.

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