Mist at Jarea

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Kingsbrae 25.2
25 June 2017

Mist at Jarea

Moving in with the tide,
drawing gauze curtains
over the islands,
climbing, so silent,
pebbles and rocks
to arrive at our windows
and block out the sun.

The mist’s grey face
presses against the panes.
Long lost friends,
come back to haunt us,
loom out of our past.

They bear memories
born beyond the mist,
living now in, and for, this mist.

They come stalking us and tap
with long, cold wisps of fingers
at locked windows and doors,
bolted so they can’t get in.

Old Sow

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Kingsbrae 22.3
22 June 2017

Old Sow

The good luck ship
flies its Jolly Roger
and all is well with the world.

No pirates now
bury their treasure
on Oak Island,
nor skirt the Old Sow
as she sucks away
at the ocean depths..

Porpoise and whale
come to her feeding grounds,
milking the maelstrom
she churns up from her seas.

Warm is her welcome
to travelers brave
who test their courage
on her swirling waves.

Low Tide

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Kingsbrae 22.1
22 June 2017

Low Tide

Now we can see
the reason for the buoys,
a mud bank here,
a shoal of shingle there,
and water flowing into
rock blocked cul-de-sacs.

Markers stand
in appropriate places,
exposed to sun and wind.
As the sea roughens,
a bell clangs,
gently at first,
and then louder.

Here on the shore,
sea voices reach out to us,
high-pitched, irregular,
deeper with the rising surf.

Pity the poor black ribcage
of the burned-out barge,
its blackened bones
a playground stage
for schools of tiny fish.

Standing Stones

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Kingsbrae 21.4
21 June 2017

Standing Stones

Standing in a stone circle,
surrounded by standing stones,
listening to their voices.

The reverberation of their uprooted rock
remembers its birthplace,
recalls the sculptor’s toil,
the polishing of granite and grain.

I’ll never forget those other stones:
bluestones at Stonehenge,
the Bronze Age tomb in Wick,
the toros de Guisando,
the danzantes at Monte Alban,
Hengistbury’s double-ditch and wall,
stone circles in Singleton
the Gorsedd ring in Caer Dydd.

Nor will I forget the deep-voiced
song of stone, here at the solstice,
standing in the middle
of three powerful granite statues,
their energies released
at this afternoon’s unveiling.

When I closed my eyes
I opened my mind and heart
to the deep earth-soul song
strummed in tune with the sunshine.

I breathed it in, retained it,
then allowed it to shine out
through the lantern of my heart.

Lost!

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Kingsbrae 20.1
20 June 2017

Lost!

Mist covers Passamaquoddy Bay.
The stone roads stretch long arms
out into the mist and figures move
along them, losing shape and form,
disappearing, so many gone, lost on
fishing grounds, fallen from boats,
while some, sad and alone, have filled
their pockets with a load of stones
and walked out into the clinging mist,
never to return. What is it like,
that slow immersion into cold waters,
the shallows, the water deepening,
the sudden depths, the rip tide
and the currents that sweep you
off your feet and carry you out, down,
and away to be lost forever in those
swirling mists that cloak the bay?
The mist knits itself in and out,
covering the scene before me
with a theatrical curtain that raises
and lowers itself. I watch the stage
before me. Mist thins and figures grow
stronger. There’ll be no tragedy today,
just a comedy of errors as footsteps
wet and muddy come my way and
a dog shakes salt and water from its coat
covering her owners with mud and spray.

Blockhouse

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Kingsbrae 19.4
19 June 2017

Blockhouse

We have become comfortable together.
We sit, food untouched on the table,
and play catch-up with our lives.

I tell her about my writing problems
and she tells me about her hopes and
fears for the future now her partner’s
walked out and left her for a younger girl.

Later, I sit in the car while she walks
on the headland by the blockhouse.

Mist covers Passamaquoddy Bay.
There was a time when I thought
she might walk out into that mist
and fade away, but she was strong.

Now I watch her walk away and
know that she’s really here to stay.

Waves

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Kingsbrae 19.2
19 June 2017

Waves

Some nights,
the stars leave
their constellations
to walk alone.

The planets, too,
grow tired of company
and shine in solitude.

Where now the Zodiac
and Plato’s Platonic
dance of the spheres?

Who knows why a man
will one day walk out of the house,
and never return?

Who knows why a woman
will abandon her children,
turn her back on her lover,
and look only at the wall?

I only know this: that the tide
is composed of multiple waves,
and that each one lives and dies,
alone on the beach.

Mist

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Kingsbrae 19.1
19 June 2017

Mist

Full sail, the sailing ship, clawing
into the mist. For a moment, only
mast-head showing, then hazy at
last, vanishing, appearing again,
doubt in the beholder’s mind: is she
or isn’t she, real or apparition? So
easy to believe in ghosts and ghost
ships when mist deceives and eyes
grieve for the subtlety of a clear
day, not mist enveloping the bay,
holding the boat back with tenuous
tendrils, ghostly fingers, damp music
on sails and cordage, shallow the sea,
the channel through sand banks and
pebbles, half -seen, yet known about,
both sensed and scented, heard from
water –sound, wave-pitch changing
and lost again the schooner, grey ship,
grey camouflage blanket of clinging mist.

Sandman 3

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Kingsbrae 18.1
18 June 2017

Sandman 3

The sandman brings sand
to put in the sandwiches
we have packed for the beach.
It’s as coarse and fierce as salt
flowing through an hourglass,
or red sand in an egg-timer,
not clockwork and wound,
but the sort you turn upside
down. Sand: it counts each
minute of each day, turns
minutes into hours, hours
into days, sands the stone
block of our lives, like a sculptor,
into smaller, more manageable
shapes and chunks. Sand sticks
to our clothes, makes us wash
our hands and brush ourselves
thoroughly before we sit down
to eat the sand that has sneaked
into the lunch-time sandwiches
we brought to nibble on the sands.

Sand in the sandwiches:
grit in the machine.
Sand in the sand glass:
measuring our lives.
Sand on a childhood beach:
timeless.

Comment: My thanks to Dwight Roth, a fellow poet, for sowing the seed that grew into that last stanza. It’s funny how art can grow. A suggestion from a friend, a chance encounter, a moment of madness. As artists, we must keep our minds open for these moments when the small universe of the poem turns and changes, pivoting sometimes on a single thought or a seemingly careless word. A careless word: that is sometimes how and why the greatest books are written: “En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme …”

Writer

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 Kingsbrae 17.2
17 June 2017

Writer

Writer, write not your words in the sand.
The seas are rising on an incoming tide.
Strong winds push waves towards the shore
and night descends.

Your words are shadows written on sand.
Like footsteps they will wash away and soon
you, your words, your footprints,
will exist no more.

Writer, cast your words in stone.
Stamp them into monuments.
Sculpt earth’s bones into words
and let them take form.

Climb high into the hills. Heaven will bring
words on the white wings of gulls.
Carve them slowly on stone tablets.
Bring them home from the hills.
The world will rejoice in the magic of your words.