By Brad James & Jay Lake
Official Selection 2012
Shelter by the Sea is a homeless man’s testimony to his life. Mired by the anchor of an old Victorian shelter on the Essex shore, he flounders, wails, mewls and drowns his past, trying to forget his present…and never intending to see a future, if this is all he has to face.
It is an ode and an indictment at the same time to the shelter he always comes, crawling back to, to escape the wind and rain and the accusation and generalisation in people’s eyes. The words bely senses of frustration, defeat, anger, shame, despair, desertion and blame. He blames himself, society, the drink and his demons, it is all vented through verse, and witnessed within the Shelter by the Sea.
Shelter by the Sea, a poem written by Brad James of Tombola Pictures was created with the intention of highlighting the plight of homeless individual. It tells the story of one man who has chosen (or forced) to choose this particular shelter as his home, an abode he both loves and hates. It is a place he attempts desperately to avoid, yet is inexorably pulled back to that place just as the tide is drawn to the shore. The decayed splendour of the Victorian shelter itself is a metaphor for the decayed, almost half-life lived by the protagonist. The poem is also an indictment of society’s indifference and permission of injustices to take place, usually right under their noses, and of the general assumptions that are made, by-and-large, directed at the homeless.