Seastairway

Seastairway
ofer waþema gebind
- ‘The Wanderer’

We sail

a~a~a~the~the~the~the
sea-troughs~sea-tombs~seawalls
the~the~the~the~this~that~my
seafarer~seawalker~seasaint
her~their~sea-lamb~seafriend
wandered~outlined~holy~crowded

                              wait for it: waiting occurs
                              in waves put up and shut up
                              the hand is undomestic
                              at this scale: ice-dipped, might be
                              a beak, cormorant, gannet;
                              might be a scientific                                               with~seabelled~seanight
                              instrument, ice-proof; is in                                   in~seaful~seawind
                              a bind. you know, if you know,                           searoped~sea-tongued~seagreat
                              you’ll put up and shut up. sleep                          over~seabord~seaside
                              only, sleep alone, brings hands                           down~seamist~seagrain
                              out of the scale of exile;                                         seacircling~seabraes~sea-gentled

seaskin~early-white-haired
furious~sea-martyrdom~worth
seawork~surrounding~searopes
beside~emerald~seadeep~sea-show
sea-marching~to~sealaw~into
seaside’s~seabent~seawalls

                              fingerprints, in dreams, become
                              warmth in warmth, identified
                              and not identifiers.
                              who laps the swing of a sky                                  seastrolling~find~seadoors
                              where triumph and vertigo                                   into~seashelled~pulses
                              don’t lock down on darker eyes?                        sealogged~seachanged~through
                                                                                                                       calling~seaware~seavessels
                                                                                                                       lie~break~seanight’s
                                                                                                                       endured~seavessel~moves
seadogged~scaled~reined
bubbled~filled~wrecked
skidding~seafared~on
whispered~              put up and shut up. the gold
well~                         of a horse of dreams canters
only~                        the inheld field of my blood.
                                   in your museums, I found
                                   me, lady, right at your side.
                                                                       
                                                                                                                       seaport
Vahni Capildeo

Copyright © Vahni Capildeo, 2018. All rights reserved.

Vahni Capildeo

Vahni Capildeo’s most recent books are Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016; Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection; T.S. Eliot Prize nomination), Seas and Trees (IPSI, 2017) and Venus as a Bear (Carcanet, 2018). An ex-medievalist, she has worked in lexicography, academia, and culture for development. Current projects include collaborations with Chris McCabe on expanded translation, and with Katy Hastie on image and text. She is a Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow at the University of Leeds.

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About Seastairway

This poem was written as part of 'The Blue Crevasse' project, which marks the centenary of W.S. Graham in 2018. The image of a blue crevasse famously appears in W.S. Graham’s poem ‘Malcolm Mooney’s Land’, and the author’s estate welcomed the idea of creating a similar metaphorical space where admirers of the poet might, in a sense, be lowered for a month’s solitary ‘residency’.