A wind breathed a breathless
stream taking me away
from the weather-worn shore.
My rood mast bent under the weight
of the drum-taut sails and bled
sweat like slaves in a deep-south cotton field.
My hand sought the tiller toughened
by the solid swell under my cleaving keel
as I followed my lover’s wake
these twelve months passed.
A tired sun shrank in the fierce face
of a waxing moon and soon
came the rain.
The breathless breeze appeased
the charcoal weight of sodden vapour.
The drum-skin rattled
the rood to its roots.
Black-green mountains rose,
their tongues of melted ice thundered like
upon my dripping decks.
The galley vomited its belly-full onto
the washed boards where my bunk once hung.
erupted into the freezing rain
where a sturdy mast once stood.
A ghost-white apparition flapped before my horizon,
obscuring the devastating wall
that took my vessel away.
Alone in the ice-tea swell in the saucer of this menacing sea,
I drifted on the sound of wandering waves and tireless tides.
The blood-white snow had given my cocoon its teeth
and I waited in the wake of the storm for either salvation,
Then, in the deepest calm in the darkest hour
before the frigid dawn, she thundered
through the waves as lightning sunders night.
A calm wind sucked the living movement
from her lank sails but her lovers
pulled on her oars
dashing the tepid ice melt of millennia
passed her flanks.
No lightning caressed her cheeks, no wound
scarred her beautiful feline form as she carved
white waves before her.
The wailing of her wake rolled
over me with the beat
of rhythmic rowing running towards me.
The bowed bow bore down and sent me under
to my mother’s wet womb
where I wondered whether now
my time had come to visit a flotsam-laden sepulchre,
and meet once more, one last time,
my lover long lost to this sea’s
O, to see those sweet neat eyes crying sleep
through the mists of morning,
to taste the wine of long time love,
to feel her warmth in that frozen desert of death.
The inverted groyne twisted my loins
but tangled lines of devastation ran
through me like a sweet summer breeze
on Hampstead Heath,
its teeth slow and minimal in their reach,
and I, torn from the darkness of doom,
floundered in a weary wake as a young sun smiled
at the horizon.
And my blood, chilled by the chilling swell, raced
through my stone-hard muscles harassed
by a heart hectored by an image of wonder.
A boat, a boat, small but dry on Homer’s wine-dark sea
slipped towards me. An angelic image, white in contrast
to the black, the green and the mauve, shone
in my saline swollen eyes.
I slumped under the gunwales
spitting water, dripping wet, slipping on wooden slats,
my breath heavy, my heart leaden beating a drum
taut by tension.
The boat, my saviour, bobbed in gentle sway
as I drifted away.
A mature sun kissed my brow as a mother
wakes a sleeping son, and sore spheres scanned
the drying vessel in the midst of rolling wet.
Again, I was alone
in that world of watery waves.
My angle was not flesh.
Time passed on its solemn ride home
leaving much to be recalled
when a coast guard cruiser hailed me.
They wondered at the boat
I’d found since my sails possessed none and the stern name
glaring out, “Sweet Marina”, was the one carried
by my lover’s sturdy vessel
that had foundered
these twelve months passed.
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