The Voyaging Vessel
Even as the tides subside
I glide the horizon like a black-
Waves of awe unleash
A various world of
Words I find deep in the folds
Of a sail-weathered wind
Like golden grain in my hand
Rolling the currents to fly
Against a limitless sky…
I harbour the salt and the scent
From bays of seafaring faces,
The sea of pearled possibilities
Where beneath the rim and the rhythm
Coral, shells and speckled fish
Water me with colour.
I can smell the sweet potato peel
Upon my skin – and I visualize walking
Amongst the summer rows.
I pick over the box of earthy potatoes.
When I pull one that is perfect
I turn it in my hand like a gold nugget –
Buried in my memory – a charm.
I peel back happiness from the soil,
Memories drop into a watery bowl;
The day we planted them – sowing
Love which had lain on the edges.
Uncertain, I nearly threw love out
With un-seeded tubers; to decay in hedges.
Instead I wrapped them and stored them
In a cold shed – for spring planting;
I can already see your face shining pride
At flowering drills; you stand with a wide-stance;
The posture of the accomplished soul – your eyes,
Stare lovingly at each planted offering.
On a Sunday in mid-summer
Right at the edge of the park
You come to me;
Talking future plans,
And a heart that dared.
We saw ourselves
Buying a car to travel
Down to the coast
Whenever we took the urge
All planned out under the elm
Of eager spreading roots.
Many seeds scattered
Ideas with wings on the breeze
Hope floating all the way
Towards the sea along winding
Smashed in spring – the last
Season you inhaled;
Lying singing on the back seat.
The front driver’s side was saved,
Letting me drive
To dreams that died.
Dreams have a way
Of coming at you by the front
And leaving by the back door.
I pass it now, the car
In the scrap yard
At the edge of the town
It’s only half now.
I remember every brick in the door frame,
Nellie, an aproned sixty-nine had
Never watched a movie,
Still thought meat was
The main part of a meal.
She picked bunches of yellow roses
For homeward bound church-going
Bachelors; pitying their lonesome ways.
Her spinster world was gay
With giving; usually to old ladies
Stiffened by religion and age.
Her greasy hair
Her shy smile –
Hands filled with care,
In the hedge,
Throwing kindness to hens;
Setting jam to seal –
I think, it was the winding lane that did it – the one
Lined with daffodils: Wordsworth would have approved.
I had my own poem set out – open like the cupped
Yellow offerings; perhaps I’d have added in: Sun-trapped
Stone steps – coming down from the white-washed loft;
And what the house held:
The bed-rails, the heavy wardrobe and ancient drawers,
The lace of the curtains, and the old dresser,
A range to help a kettle sing, and streams,
Of light across the lanolin floor – peeping
From wide window-sills, with hills outside.
Now, I have to content myself with the fact that – we have
A bigger vegetable patch here, than the little fenced one
At the back of the cottage we nearly had –
I knew the man who lived there once.
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