Saturday, 9 January 2010

Poem: Catching the Drift

Catching the Drift

Collared by its spectral bridge, the bay’s incursion
narrows to a creek, these tongues of sand
where mist-wreathed skiff masts lie at odds
among the trees. “The well-to-do,” you say
and point at the far shore’s terraced villas.
What else to add? It wasn’t to be
that you’d put your name to such deeds
would allow you such possession.

Only here, on this shack’s uneven planks,
the morning’s steeped in diesel fumes,
or whatever else that smell might be,
and flies, perplexed by angling lures,
are seething on lopped fish-heads,
grounds for some complaint, perhaps,
were that your way. We push out
the boat instead, catching the drift

which squirls at fallen branches,
knots of weed, the sure-footed bridge’s
concrete stanchions, then thickens
to an estuary. If the jetstreams
unfurling north and east
register as promises, promises
made at one time to yourself,
there’s not a sign in your straight gaze.

Tom Philliips

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