Perched on the edge of the world, underneath
a sky of lilting brocade, a hundred
or more feet above the cusp of the beach,
looking out towards the unencumbered
reach of the Atlantic, between temple
and demesne, I willed my asthmatic chest
to expel words that for so long trembled
in imagination, but a tempest
drowned out the conversation when I tried
to speak, and my dreams were robbed by the tide.
Each brave morning, the fresh tide surrenders
sodden offerings from the silent world
between the waves and the abyss. Shoes, pearls,
issues of Playboy, dated December,
kilos of cocaine, shrink-wrapped in plastic,
Lego bricks, tins of ham set in aspic,
lumps of ambergris and Pez dispensers.
I wash each gift clean of dirt, silt and grit.
I buff and I mend. I shine and I stitch.
Some day, I will find enough junk to build
a bridge: a construction of plinths, columns
and beams to reach my wife across the rift.
Now, I must return to my cell, and yield
to the sweet calypso who keeps calling,
to whose charms I am powerless to resist.
The Receiver Of Wreck
It takes its toll, you know, when you collect
so many bruised apples and broken parts;
when the sea concedes so much submerged wreck
into your hands and expects that your heart
will not be heavy from such a levy,
from the pricking of all these poison darts,
from the cost of fostering unsteady
fledglings, from stitching and tending their wounds
before letting them fly free, when ready.
Ross Thompson is a writer from Bangor, Northern Ireland. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Honest Ulsterman, 4x4, One, Popshot, The Wild Word, Visual Verse and Memory House. He recorded three pieces for Happy Holidays, an album by The Grand Gestures - a collective of Scottish musicians and artists - and his poem 'Postscripts' is included in The Poetry Jukebox installation in Belfast. Most recently, Ross was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney New Writing Award and placed joint runner-up in the Mairtín Crawford Award. He read ‘The Slipping Forecast’ on the BBC for The Arts Show and was also commissioned by NI Screen to write a poetic sequence for the Coast To Coast project.
Photograph by Rafolas, CC 2.0