By: Stephen Kingsnorth
What true, which spun embroidered myth?
I knew the weir, its timber trap.
Long float log boat from Exmoor down,
that salmon leap, where few flew by,
and pool beneath by Ducks Marsh green,
neither bog nor drake insight.
A minute from my teenage home,
past abbey cite to city route,
but twenty to Old Customs House,
where evasion sought out, caught.
The old match factory, dingly dell –
some causeway song, far Lindisfarne –
swans grace, vestas by the Exe
slats spaced out on ricket bridge.
Phosphor dip splash, workers’ curse,
hair, girls’ flaxen, dropout, space,
quaint plate hanging, rust screech hinge,
except name calling – mill for flax.
The ferry toll board, chain link quay,
Styx man gone when fee unpaid –
my first mucking, a bout in boats –
sandstone walls now garage lets.
Sun streak Sunday, cathedral bells,
wardrobe entries all the way,
in myth and memory, the mix,
through Trew was there, of that I’m sure.
The ways of water, bubble flap,
rare reflection, pool of glass,
is it greeting, wave farewell,
rapids, whirlpool, H2O,
eddy, vortex, maelstrom pull?
Joined-up writing in the past,
rolled up, scrolled up billet-doux,
tied, pink ribbon in a bow,
to and fro from message passed,
corresponding to the last.
Word games warped by curlicues,
closed with kisses in a row,
X – a letter from yesterday,
graphite mark, axis of love,
ballot spoiled, but poll for show.
His message gushing, rush of pulse,
spouts of passion, showers on cue,
currents crossed with undertow,
stream of conscience next his style,
filling reservoir where mired.
Signoff, moniker of hugs,
scented paper, pheromones,
all mixed up, emotions weighed,
anger stamped as all wrapped up,
frank, a few years too late, post.
I wish deleted, not deferred,
night visions, mares, much more than dreams.
You build your castles in the air,
but I prone on the battlements,
repeat descriptions printed there,
quite unaware – just one more scare –
that I’ve seen episode before.
Some fifty after fears were reared,
why do they haunt when long past term?
Late luggage, lost in airport queue,
some foreign clime, none understand;
semester end, still unaware,
what lectures or exams impend?
I’ve teetered on the edge of each,
so recognise once latent fears;
I’ve told myself no exams left,
except the final judgement seat.
Is that the queue, with baggage due
to cause disruption at the gates?
Is that my fear of dream deferred?
Colours go to different lengths,
waving to their counterparts,
complementing in an arc,
striking wall and window frame.
Something quaint for those who pass,
more for those who pause beside –
though house outside, home inside.
There timber beam flesh, quarry bone,
themselves still playing colour game,
their palette grain, patina, hewn,
rough cut, split slate, dry stone wall.
Cobbled route from ill-fit door,
sway-set shutters, sloping floor.
This the nest where babies born,
here the nurture, children grown,
set as site when fledge are flown,
comfort cell where elders rest.
The captain’s haul, fees, refugees,
the working sweat of homeland fields,
a bonded life saved and exchanged,
the currency of freedom paid.
It cost the learning of the child,
a schooling beyond rice fields, mines,
the trek through jungles to the beach,
there greasing palms to stay afloat.
The destined vision paradise,
transported both in body, soul,
delights of that far better land.
The crossing likened to the hill,
Golgotha sight of squall to storm,
the wet road where the boats upturned
and migrants came to terms with hell.
But others sail still in their wake,
no cushioned saviour, stern rebuke.
This, a movement on the earth,
some sanctuary for abused,
the globalism known of poor.
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Literary Yard.