Ian Watson

Causeway

Ian Watson

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Now bumper to bumper with
mainland buses, this flimsy thread
will thin and snap when winter
shakes the village church,

and the bells respond unpulled
to dope-head banshees of the gale
like legless oboes and bassoons
in their dark grey campanile.

Behind the square, the Visitors’ Centre,
now no longer barrier-free, mutates back
into the Gothic mess it was. Beneath
the mulch and perfidious moss, the ground
waters rise to nudge the abbot’s grave.

In storms, not even ferries are any good.
Don’t talk to us of groceries; we live
from tins for days on end.

They call us the storm babies,
born without the midwife; not even the
vet can get across. Our fathers,
dragged to the frontiers of decorum,

know what to do from watching the
calves and lambs.


Ian Watson


Ian Watson was born in Belfast but has now spent most of his life in Bremen, Northern Germany, where he worked as a senior lecturer in Creative Writing and British and Irish Literature and Cultural History. He has published poems, articles and literary translations in anthologies and magazines as far apart as Stint, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Salzburg Review, Hard Times and Cyphers. He also done radio feature work and is the co-author of the documentary Cool to be Celtic (1999) on Irish popular music, co-produced for French and German television. He also teaches literary writing in schools and in adult education. For twenty years he edited newleaf magazine and ran newleaf press, which published writing in English from Germany and abroad. He is a steering committee member of the Virtuelles Literaturhaus Bremen. His recent publications include two German books of poetry and short prose: Kurzpassspiel (Bremen 2012) and Spielfelder: eine Fußballmigration (Rotenburg 2016), as well as two poetry collections: Riverbank City: A Bremen Canvas (Hamburg 2013) and Granny’s Interpreter (Salmon Poetry 2016).