Way of Life
The village has become its own museum.
Follow the numbers: a smithy; the bakery.
The stilted fishing huts are let to tourists,
Us, but we’re still at sea, stumbling
Across gardens, up private paths. Desperate,
We photograph everything. Stockfish
Hangs on racks like laundered money,
Prima, Sekunda, Africa, the Italian
Church toasting this shining rim of the world,
Where flat patches of land are tilled
For graves when the maelstrom spins the faerings
And fembørings to heaven, the høvedsmann, the village boys.
Still Life with Cat
Because at this latitude it’s light all summer,
I’m learning the language of pallor, cloud,
The soft drape of drizzle, distance.
We idle beyond the breakwater in the small hours’
Gloaming where the sea, immediately deep,
Flops and swells: no shelving, no beach.
It holds the colours of the sky and more:
Mercury will ruffle into handbeaten pewter,
Seaweed-black will bloom, cobalt and emerald.
In the proper morning, white sunshine;
A cat on its back in the meadow flowers,
Floating on orchids, clover, tormentil.
Jonathan Taylor is a writer and teacher living in Yorkshire and Cornwall. He is Head of the Quaker boarding and day school in York. His poetry has been published in a wide variety of magazines in the UK and US including the TLS, Poetry Review, The New Statesman, London Magazine, The Cumberland Review (US), The Literary Review, Critical Quarterly, The Printer's Devil, Illuminations. He is a past winner of the TLS/Cheltenham Literary Festival Poetry Prize.