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The Beach

By Anthony Kelly

I stood at the beach. The boats were lined up silent, their colourful prows in rows like sleeping birds.

Troy’s towering powerful walls rose up before us every day.

Paris and Helen’s guilty love each our own as we waited in siege to cast judgement and punish them.

We warriors, all starving, drunken and bored, encamped upon an endless beach, an extended sun holiday.

Each day the war prolonged our weary repose. Every day warriors marked each other off till our Grecian host nought more than a pack of insecure boys playing by the beach.

The eternal sun graced us, our wondrous vacation, a window high up above those armoured walls gave us occasional glimpse of Helen’s fair hair.

In the end, hated Helen was worshipped as Athena, Nike and fair Venus and was fed prayer’s, she became the toast of all our drunken songs.

Achilles, Ajax, Hector - all the heroes died and I lost. Lost upon foreign sands, enjoyed my long summer holiday.

Watching the last line of light, creep closer to meet the sea.

Was there a name or a turn of phrase for that line where golden sunset meets the sea?

I wondered then when would the wind fill my sails, when could I next chase the stars.

To find the mystical fabled Terminus that exists beyond the sky.

Beyond this cursed muscled beach and those grey high walls that keep me out.


Anthony Kelly is Irish. He is a graduate of Goldsmith’s College of Art, London and Griffith College, Dublin. He has two daughters, loves food, hill walking, photography, and drawing.

His story “Love Story” was shortlisted and published in Brevity is the Soul, an anthology of Irish comedy written in lockdown and published by Liberties Press in 2021. "Love Story" has been translated into Serbian and published in the Serbian literary journal Libartes.

His story “The Hill” won first prize in the 2020 Holding It Together Apart Halloween Horror and Ghost Story competition. "The Hill" has also been translated into Japanese.

“The Descent” won first prize in the Memoir category in the annual Irish Listowel Writers Week Competition in 2014. “The Birds” was highly recommended in the Dublin City Council Writing Awards, 2014. His stories “Shoes Are Not Just for Feet”, “The House”, and “The Revolution is playing Irish Music” have been published and translated into Spanish in the Mexican magazine Lee+, published by Ediciones Gandhi.

Anthony also won the 2020 Du Noyer Photography Award for Geological Landscape Photography in Ireland.

Before the pandemic, Anthony worked as a tour guide in Ireland, entertaining travellers with myths, legends, and true stories. He contributes to travel blogs and enjoys making time-lapse films of the Irish landscape. Anthony is currently editing his first novel, a medieval fantasy written during the pandemic, and a collection of short stories.

You can follow him on Instagram, and online here.


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