"The sea! The sea! (thalatta thalatta)."

(a note to Vera)
(Published in "This Island City", Spinnaker Press, 2010)

It is cool now, with a slight breeze
Rippling the water.
I bring beer from the “Lone Yachtsman”
And sit on a bench with your absence
As my companion.
I know you will be happy here
And that thought calms me,
So I am content to look
And take my fix on the future.
The sun goes down on the Solent,
A golden submarine submerging
To leave its wake trembling
In a path to another world
That could tempt a tourist dreamer
To walk his miracle across.
Faintly, beautiful in the distance,
A sad bugle sounds
To the lowering of flags:
An old sailor remembers
And spits the lump in his throat
Into the dark gathering water.
The sun completes its stately descent,
And the blushing complemented sky
Fades slowly to twilight to beckon stars.
I finish my beer, watching a small cruiser
Sail on a light breeze towards a calm sea.


The constant motion of water
Under moon and the lights of piers
Are visual echoes
Between contrasting darknesses
Of harbour sea.

We look through glass
And meditate on oceans under stars,
And refuse all notions of storms and squalls
That could drag us down,
Devouring one by one
Our whole ephemeral human kind.

Land locked sailors, we sit in harbour pubs,
And talk swish swashy chat beneath
Nets and oars and unused lobster pots,
Daring no more than rolling to the bar.
By moon-lake waters hearts will only break
To humdrum voices and tinkling glasses,
Where false eyelashes flutter in rank breezes
Of stifling sentimentality.
We’ll not brave the ocean to know how
To dare, or kick our pampered mongrel out of doors;
But through double glazing watch the sea
Unsalted and unwetted become no more
Than a picture window to sit before
While talking of navigation by the stars.


A pageant of porpoises, a circus of delight,
Masters of their world man never attained.
A trawler trailing a bridal train of gulls,
A ballet of birds wheeling on the wind
Mocking the clumsiness of planes,
And diving gannets flashing into the sea
Of rich diamonds mined by the sun.
O Mozart did even you
Make magic to so enchant.