Thursday, 2 March 2017

Love in the Age of the Risen Sea

This is a short sequel to my poem 'The Sea is Rising.' 
(Read an excerpt of 'The Sea is Rising' here)

We gather a bouquet of coral along the stretch of beach
With green leaves of circuit board
Bound in fishing line.
What do we find this time?
Among the plastic tide
A baby shoe, a locket gripped in a shell,
A rigger glove, a cigar tin,
A dog collar, a sodden book,
A bag of tent pegs,
A cutting of garden hose,
And bones. I take the dainty and bleached bones
But leave the mashy, rotting and creamy ones ashore.

Breaking the cusp of sky,
The old bird, the old man,
Gull! Wing tips trailing the crystal clouds
Gammy legs folded neatly against his oily torso
In the strong sun, golden eyes, smiling, smiling!
What treasures has he brought us from the last highlands
From the tips of mountains where trade meanders
And collects saffron silks and heady spices.
A rough parcel of seeds, a few cuttings of fruit-bearing bushes.
He brings these gifts to us, his purring children,
His pets on the shore.

He says we came here screaming,
Huddled onto his greased chest, the filthy ocean sprawling below,
as his fagged brain and rattled cawing
searched the globe for a sanctuary.
He’s lost the old Gods,
Those with whom he would pace cliff-edges in robes
Those with whom he would spread kelp lawns
Those with whom he would write prophecies
That all too often came true.

We h’ain’t no Gods
But I’m sure we pray if it’s possible wi’h’ain’t Gods
For Gull to feel happy
For Gull to get back safe to us
For years to come, when we can take care of him in his ancient ages.
Sometimes, when praying,
I see through Gulls eyes, sudden as a flash of ‘lectric;
I see the piercing grey cloud through
the translucent glint of bloated old weather balloons
the lulling squaw of rusted satellites on their way down, quit of orbit
the wrenching non-flap, non-caw of Gull’s brothers, him’s sisters, he’s ma and pa, whose bones surely lie in their thousands stripped on a clotted beach someplace.
Prayers always answered these days, and here he comes back, his sea-birds eyes brimful;
I fix ‘um wi’ mine I fix ‘um wi’ mine I fix ‘um wi’ mine- 
we will save you, Gull.

As the sun sets, there he squats on the tree top,
Preening, bending his neck to look at the orange slug of sun.
Aye, he has known the cold and rot like no other
But surely he knows hands are warm, worked or new,
And where he finds shelter among the summer rains
He will be greeted with smiles.

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