Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Of edges and boats

It's been a busy few days of work, plus we bought a sailing boat on Monday - Happy Daze! Getting daily poems onto here has therefore not been feasible, so here's the backlog.

The first is a musing on the edges again, after our exciting trip down into the underworld of High Pasture Cave at the weekend. And then there are inevitably a couple of nautical poems, including one which is just a shopping list for the boat in vaguely iambic pentameter. These are all definitely seedlings that look vulnerable to dying back, but in the spirit of the thing, I shall bare them to the world. I have to say showing such raw work feels a bit like going out in my underwear.


shine a torch
turn the light off

let waves wash in
wash out again

speak this tonguetranslate into an canan eile

rub off the paint
apply another layer

old bracken collapses
new fronds unfurl

the moon wanes
waxes again

the day lengthens
but still the fire is welcome

conflict happens
peace is possible

the edge is thin between action
and inaction

all boundaries are made to be broken
all edges are crossable

Happy Daze

Although every boat requires love of a kind
different from the care we lavish on each other

I am won over by freshly-polished wood,
talk of hinges, well-worn sheets,

hooked by dreams of shrouds
making music in a summer evening breeze

the song of undercurrents, trickles under keel.
In any future year I might let my probing fingers

press into the red flesh below the waterline,
scratch at the pitted scabs beside the crusty anode

but it is spring and barnacle geese
are skeining for the northern isles,

Faroe, Iceland, Jan Mayan, Svalbard,
ice-fringed coastlines where balugas rise

and dive. I must be on the ocean
tracking Pytheas along the wrack-scent margin,

while the nights are brief and pale.
Thule beckons in the wind among the trees.

Shopping list

The ropes go up the eight yard mast then down(although today, because the stick is prone,
they run along a horizontal line and back);
we're measuring them, and making plans
for when good sailing weather will arrive.
The boat has overwintered in dry dock.
Her shrouds are slumped. She does not look alive.

The best of it is drawing up the shopping list:
new sheets, halyard, anodes for the keel,
barometer, a plumbline and a tender,
a scrubber for the hull and anti-fouling,hasp and hinges where the rust set in,
life vests, coastal charts and mugs for tea.
Soon we'll be all set to go to sea!

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