published in Envoi 142.
'A rather mysterious poem, which I think is about the choice/lack of choice involved in entering a relationship which may prove destructive.' - Julie Lumsden.
My fear is like the hurting rocks
of pale mythology, well-spoken of
for the bad things they do to ships
and men. Through pipe-tales in harbour
told by wise sailors with Long John legs
and large beards, I have stared
at the prospect of what lies beyond
the rolling sea-fogs and the water climbing
above itself at the edge of the earth,
waiting, then falling upon anything.
And my fear is like an examination
of the dripping jaws of the dragon
that lives beneath the rocks, when thinking
is too long or too little. The waves rear:
I am to be wrecked tomorrow or tonight
or even now, grabbing at the hem of your dress
as the deck tilts. In your eyes are passing lights
that detonate. Then talking is useless.
My ears sing. Lashed by curds of brine,
fascinated, I step the grey mist.