The most extravagant thing is the long nightly bath
- close to submerged in the opaque water –
Rose Absolute-infused steam rising,
I am happiest here
with only the contained moonlight of a candle-in-a-glass
to invoke the constant blessings of lighthouses.
At St John’s Point, coastal people have come out
to protest against the retracting of the Light there –
and in the same breath, somebody asks about the merrow.
One man swears that once he saw one –
neck and breast out of the water, lighting up silver
as the slow beam crossed her path.
He infers a tail beneath the ragged sea-fog of late winter.
He is certain what she had come for.
And so it is with mythical creatures –
who are often said to foretell such certainty.
And so it is with mortal creatures who flee in terror,
backs to the ocean; running for the high, dry ground.
First Published in Abridged 0 - 14: Floodland, 2016
The divers go under.
Overlapping lily-pads of light
mark the place of their descent.
I stand on deck watching out for them.
The moon, my beacon, but
no anchor, gives enough light
to make a silhouette of jagged edges –
the ocean and the coast.
The boat, at anchor, is nudged,
insistently, by the undertow.
It has the rhythm of a death-rattle.
My only counsel is to keep breathing.
Suddenly, they come to the surface
and like silent, ocean glow-worms
they move across towards the boat.
The night divers return laughing.
When the captain calls
you can't remember
what you should do
You are now alone
in the air
and the whole world
seems to be falling
You are surprised at the speed
of your thinking
none of which amounts to much
when you have no control
instead you look
to your neighbours
one-by-one you all assume
the brace position
Head to knees – your own arms embracing
a quiet kind of descent
silent calls for help and then the heart reminds you
what you truly care for
and through a dent in your damaged craft
flies the winged companion
of this mad uncertainty
First Published in FourXFour, Issue 7 Winter 2014