The summer trade is gone. The nights are pocked
with arguments, off-duty gulls, slow provincial stars
that navigate by one small lighthouse.
How many times have you been here
or somewhere like it? A northern harbour
black with wind, the water shaken into ribs.
How many out-of-season squares of grey
have you seen roughed by squalls;
how many shuttered Harbour Inns?
The little boats, snub-nosed and half-asleep
swing around their moorings, telling tides.
Thick-walled houses huddle at the wharf.
These island nights; as clean as shooting stars
amongst the nets and fenders. Cold water, ruffled,
travelling against its own unclear grain.
Portree Harbour, 2012
Jo Bell is the UK Canal Laureate for the Poetry Society and Canal and River Trust, and a former director of National Poetry Day. Her new collection, Kith, was published by Nine Arches this month. Find out more about Jo at her website.